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Sid Caesar, comic genius of 1950s television, dies at 91


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It took decades for him to hit bottom. In 1977, he was onstage in Regina, Canada, doing Simon’s "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" when, suddenly, his mind went blank. He walked off stage, checked into a hospital and went cold turkey. Recovery had begun, with the help of wife Florence Caesar, who would be by his side for more than 60 years and helped him weather his demons.

Those demons included remorse about the flared-out superstardom of his youth — and how the pressures nearly killed him. But over time he learned to view his life philosophically.

At a glance

Stars react to death of comedy legend Sid Caesar

Celebrities react to the passing of TV comedy pioneer Sid Caesar Wednesday at 91 at his home in Los Angeles:

“Sid Caesar set the template for everybody. He was without a doubt, inarguably, the greatest sketch comedian-monologist that television ever produced. He could ad-lib, he could do anything that was necessary to make an audience laugh.” — Caesar’s longtime collaborator and friend Carl Reiner on CBS Radio.

“Saddened by the death of Sid Caeser. He was one of the greats. When you watch him today, he still makes you laugh like he did 60 years ago.” — Joan Rivers on Twitter, adding, “A childhood highlight was going to the taping of “Your Show of Shows.” I’m just sorry I never had the opportunity to work with Sid Caesar.”

“He was one of the truly great comedians of my time and one of the finest privileges I’ve had in my entire career was that I was able to work for him.” — Woody Allen in a statement.

“Life...doing her thing, another great has passed Sid Caesar. Funny man We honored him at the very first Comic Relief. RIP turn turn turn” — Whoopi Goldberg on Twitter.

“We’ve lost one of the greats. Sid Caesar was a fantastic comedian and entertainer. His quadlingual schtick was always a hit. We’ll miss him.” — Arnold ?Schwarzenegger on Twitter.

“He was a genius at everything.” — Larry King on CBS radio.

“Just read Sid Caesar passed away. Real genius of sketch comedy. Without him, no SNL & no me. HAIL TO THE KING! (hash) SID CAESAR, KING of COMEDY” — Comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” star Jon Lovitz on Twitter.

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"You think just because something good happens, THEN something bad has got to happen? Not necessarily," he said with a smile in 2003, pleased to share his hard-won wisdom: "Two good things have happened in a row."

Associated Press writers Frazier Moore in New York and Christopher Weber and Jessica Herndon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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