Comedian Sid Caesar (b. Irving Sidney Caesar in 1922) died on February 12.
Caesar was best known for the comedy variety show Your Show of Shows, for which he brought together such writing luminaries as Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Selma Diamond, and Larry Gelbart, as well as his co-stars Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner. It was succeeded by Caesar’s Hour and other similar shows.
He also appeared in the all-star comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. He also portrayed the gym coach in the film Grease and its sequel.
Although not known for his genre roles, Caesar did appear in several television shows and films which are of interest to the science fiction and fantasy fan. His appearance in Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I as a caveman who lived at the time of the dinosaurs could technically be considered a fantasy, and he also appeared in one episode of Brooks’ short lived Robin Hood sitcom When Things Were Rotten. More traditional genre roles included an appearance in the television film The Munsters’ Revenge, and episode of Amazing Stories, portraying the gryphon in a television production of Alice in Wonderland and perhaps most notably the role of Sid Zellman in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, based on the Ray Bradbury story and Caesar’s final screen appearance.
Caesar got his start at the age of fourteen as a saxophonist in the Catskills. Caesar was known for his ability for double-talk, in which he would spout gibberish in a variety of accents, as well as his facial expressions.