Sid Caesar of 'Your Show of Shows' dies at 91


Caesar died early Wednesday morning in the Los Angeles area after a brief illness.

Caesar's comedic sketches lit up 1950s television. In "Your Show of Shows," he and Imogene Coca performed skits that satirized the everyday - marital spats, inane advertising, strangers meeting and speaking in clichés, a parody of the Western "Shane" in which the hero was "Strange." They staged a water-logged spoof of the love scene in "From Here to Eternity." ''The Hickenloopers" husband-and-wife skits became a staple.

He won two Emmy awards in 1952 and 1957 and earned a Career Achievement Award in 2001 from the Television Critics Association Awards. In 2006, he was honored with a Pioneer Award during the TV Land Awards.

His other important show was "Caesar's Hour," and he also played the role of Coach Calhoun in "Grease" and "Grease 2."

"From my vantage point, which was sometimes no further than an inch from his face, and one time nose on nose, he was inarguably the greatest pantomimist, monologist and single sketch comedian who ever worked in television," said Carl Reiner, a close friend and collaborator, in a statement. "He was a great flame who all the comedy moths wanted to be around, moths like Mel Brooks, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, Joe Stein, Tony Webster, and in Sid's last year on television, Woody Allen."

Some compared him to Charlie Chaplin for his success at combining humor with touches of pathos.

"As wild an idea as you get, it won't go over unless it has a believable basis to start off with," he told The Associated Press in 1955. "The viewers have to see you basically as a person first, and after that you can go on into left field."

Caesar also had success on Broadway and occasional film appearances, notably in "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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