Remembering Comedian And Actor Sid Caesar Who Has Died At 91
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar, an American comic actor and writer, died on Wednesday at the age of 91. He best known for the pioneering 1950s live television series Your Show of Shows, "Sid Caesar was 27 when he launched Your Show of Shows - TV's first and greatest live comedy," NPR's Susan Stamberg's on his show.
Caesar wasn't considered a traditional stand-up comedian, but instead a "sketch comic" and actor. He did not have the slapstick comedy style which was common at that time, his style was considered "avant garde." Many writers who worked with him early in their careers launched their careers from working with him. Some of the writers were Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Carl Reiner, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin and Woody Allen. unlike other comedies at the time, the dialogue on Caesar's show was considered sharper, funnier and more adult-oriented.
Caesar was was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards, winning two, and honored countless other times. He also authored several books and played the saxophone
Unfortunately after ten years of success with Your Show of Shows followed by Caesar's Hour, Caesar's fame diminished quickly. Writer and close friend, Mel Brooks, said, "I know of no other comedian, including Chaplin, who could have done nearly ten years of live television. Nobody's talent was ever more used up than Sid's. He was one of the greatest artists ever born. But over a period of years, television ground him into sausages."
Caesar continued to make occasional television appearances and starred in several films. He even hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1983, where he received a standing ovation and was awarded a plaque declaring him an honorary cast member.
Sid Caesar died in his home in Beverly Hills, after a short illness, on February 12, 2014. On his death, Carl Reiner said, "He was the ultimate, he was the very best sketch artist and comedian that ever existed," and Mel Brooks commented, "Sid Caesar was a giant, maybe the best comedian who ever practiced the trade. And I was privileged to be one of his writers and one of his friends."
Watch ABC News's look back on Caesar's life: