Sid Caesar dead at 91

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2006 TV Land Awards – Backstage and Audience

Sid Caesar in 2006 (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (PIX11/AP) — Legendary comic genius  Sid Caesar, a pioneer of television’s golden age,  has died at the age of 91.

Family spokesman Eddy Friedfeld says Caesar died early Wednesday. His death was revealed on Twitter by Larry King, who called him a “comic genius” and “dear friend.”  Caesar’s sketches lit up 1950s television with zany humor.

New York’s Friars Club in an email to PIX11’s Marvin Scott earlier confirmed the death Wednesday afternoon.

A choked-up Jerry Lewis told Marvin Scott that “we lost a treasure” in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“The Friars Club is deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of the true comic geniuses of the 20th century. Friar Sid Caesar leaves behind a legacy that is equaled by very few. His work on “Your Show of Shows” remains the gold standard by which all sketch comedy is judged. He shall forever be the patron saint of that unique art form. We at the Friars, the entire world of comedy and all of America will miss the extraordinary Sid Caesar.”

Sid Caesar & Cast In ‘Your Show of Shows’ Skit

Host Sid Caesar sits flanked by cast performers Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner, listening to an unidentified female singer (left) in a skit from the TV comedy series, ‘Your Show of Shows,’ 1952. (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images)

Caesar was a pioneer of early television comedy, starring in shows like “Your Show of Shows,” whose innovative sketch comedy was penned by notable writers such as Woody Allen and Mel Brooks.

He used his shows to display his incredible skill in pantomime, satire, mimicry, dialect and sketch comedy.

He paired with Imogene Coca in sketches that became comedy classics.

He attracted a stable of young writers who went on to highly successful careers of their own including Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.

Caesar also appeared on Broadway and on the big screen in the 1963 comedy epic “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.”

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