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Sid Caesar, TV Comedy Legend, Dead at 91

Sid Caesar
Michael Ochs Archives

Sid Caesar, one of the most beloved, respected and influential comic voices of all time, has passed away today at the age of 91.

Born in 1922, Caesar got his start as a musician in New York City. He discovered his calling for comedy while serving in the armed forces during World War II, participating in an armed forces revue show called ‘Tars and Spars’ and appearing in the 1946 film adaptation of the same name. Caesar continued to dabble in stage, TV and film, but his biggest break came in 1950 with the launch of his NBC variety program, ‘Your Show of Shows.’

Although Caesar was the face of the show, the series also launched the careers of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart, all of whom went on to massively successful careers (with many of them contributing their success straight to Caesar’s influence and guidance).

‘Your Show of Shows’ ran for four years (and Caesar took home an Emmy in ’54) and he immediately followed it with ‘Caesar’s Hour,’ which saw him taking greater creative control. He followed that series up with countless other film and TV appearances (including memorable turns in ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ and ‘Grease,’ but substance abuse led to his career stalling out in the late ’70s … before he came roaring back with an autobiography and a ‘Saturday Night Live‘ appearance in the ’80s.

Caesar lived a long and fruitful life with his influence still felt on comedy stars and writers today. He will be missed.

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