TV pioneer Sid Caesar has died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles. The Yonkers, NY-born comedian made his first appearance on TV in 1949 on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater. On February 25, 1950, Caesar was among the ensemble cast on the premiere of Your Show Of Shows. With Caesar, Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner in front of the camera and Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Mel Tolkin and Danny Simon among the writers, the 90-minute weekly NBC show became one of early TV’s biggest hits, running until June 1954, and served as a launching pad for future TV comedy talent — with proteges spawning protoges through the years. Ceasar moved on to topline several shows: the one-hour satirical Caesar’s Hour debuted just a few months later and ran until 1957, followed by 1958’s The Sid Caesar Show, which had Woody Allen as a writer. He starred in a series of appearances and specials well into the 1960s and beyond.
While TV was where he was best known, Caesar was also busy on the big screen. He was one of the leads in the 1963 hit comedy It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with Spencer Tracey, Berle, Peter Falk and Mickey Rooney among the who’s who of comedy greats. He then became known to a new generation with his role as Barney in Airport 1975 and as Couch Calhoun in the 1978 adaptation of Grease.
Caesar was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1985.