Comedy legend Sid Caesar passed away in his Beverly Hills home Wednesday at the age of 91. Larry King tweeted the news earlier this afternoon, and Reuters reports that friend and fellow comedy legend Carl Reiner has also confirmed Caesar’s death.
Caesar was one of the earliest pioneers of TV comedy, starring alongside Imogene Coca in NBC’s Your Show of Shows, which aired from 1950 to 1954. The show laid the groundwork for modern sketch comedy, and did so with a schedule that would be unheard of today—Caesar and Coca performed 90 minutes of live sketch comedy every Saturday night for 39 weeks out of the year. Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Neil Simon and several other influential comedians wrote for the program.
Your Show of Shows was renamed Caesar’s Hour in 1954 and aired for three more years. Caesar then led a scattershot career marred by alcoholism and drug abuse, but continued to make appearances on a variety of stages and TV shows. He won two Emmys, in 1952 and 1957, and in 2011 was given the Television Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement award.
Caesar is survived by his three children with wife Florence Levy, whom he was married to for 67 years before her death in 2010.