Caesar, Sid

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Caesar, Sid

Sid Caesar (Isaac Sidney Caesar), 1922–2014, American comedian, one of the stars of the "golden age of live television," b. Yonkers, N.Y. While performing in a World War II military show he met the producer Max Liebman who, impressed with Caesar's comic abilities, later sponsored him in club gigs and had him host the television variety show Admiral Broadway Review (1949). On Your Show of Shows (1950–54), in comedy that was generally driven by character or situation, Caesar performed skits, improvisations, satire, doubletalk rendered in dialect, and monologues, often with Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner. The show's brilliant corps of writers included Reiner, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart, and Mel Tolkin. Coca went on to her own television show, and Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour (1954–57). After the 1950s his television career was largely reduced to guest appearances. He also performed in a number of movies, including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Silent Movie (1973), and Grease (1978).

See his memoirs, Where Have I Been? (1982) and Caesar's Hours (2003); T. Sennett, Your Show of Shows (rev. ed. 2002).

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