(JNS.org) Famed Jewish comedian Sid Caesar has died at the age of 91.
Caesar, who was born Isaac Sidney Caesar in 1922 to parents from Russia and Poland, began his entertainment career as a saxophone player. Later he made a name for himself with his humor on iconic 1950s shows such as “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” He also appeared in films such as “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963), “Airport 1975” (1974), and “Grease” (1978).
“Sid Caesar was a giant. If it weren’t for Sid Caesar there might not be television as we know it. He and his co-stars and writers revolutionized television comedy, and really comedy in general,” said biographer Eddy Friedfeld, a close friend of Caesar, according to CNN.
One of Caesar’s most iconic performances was a skit called the “The Hickenloopers,” in which he played a gibberish-singing opera singer. “If you want to find the urtexts of ‘The Producers’ and ‘Blazing Saddles,’ of ‘Sleeper’ and ‘Annie Hall,’ of ‘All in the Family’ and ‘M*A*S*H’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’… check out the old kinescopes of Sid Caesar,” Former New York Times chief theater critic Frank Rich wrote in 1993.
Caesar was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1985. He is survived by a son, two daughters, and two grandsons. His wife Florence died in 2010.