Rob Reiner Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Rob Reiner      

Emmy Award-Winning Actor; Director; Producer & Activist

Famed actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner was born Robert Norman Reiner on March 6, 1947, in the Bronx, New York. The son of comedic genius Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner has enjoyed great success in the entertainment industry, both behind and in front of the camera. He spent his early years surrounded by show business personalities such as Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, while his father worked on hit television program Your Show of Shows in the early 1950s. Reiner also spent time on the set of his father's next successful series, The Dick Van Dyke Show, starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.

After high school, Reiner attended the University of California Los Angeles and continued to work with improvisational comedy groups, landing some small television roles. Reiner got his first taste of success as Mike "Meathead" Stivic on the popular sitcom "All in the Family." Premiering in 1971, the show surprised audiences with its confrontational humor.

For seven years, Reiner played "Meathead," a liberal intellectual who frequently clashed with his father-in-law. He won two Emmy Awards in the best supporting actor in a comedy category, first in 1974 and then in 1978. Reiner left the show after the 1977-78 season to pursue other opportunities.

Reiner's next big break, however, came from his work behind the camera in 1984. Movie audiences were delighted and probably a bit confused by "This Is Spinal Tap," a comedy disguised as a rock documentary. At the heart of the film was the dysfunctional heavy metal act known as Spinal Tap (played by actors Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer). Reiner served as the film's director as well as one of its writers. He even appeared on screen as the band's manager Marty DiBergi. While critics responded positively to this hilarious spoof, it was not an instant hit. Since its release, however, it has become a comedy cult classic.

Reiner followed up this film with "The Sure Thing," a road trip romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga.

Turning his attention to more serious fare, Reiner directed the 1986 coming-of-age drama "Stand By Me." The film, based on a story by Stephen King, was a critical and commercial success. It helped launch the careers of its young stars, including River Phoenix and Corey Feldman. The film also earned Golden Globe, Director's Guild of America, Kinema Junpo and Independent Spirit award nominations.

Playing with fables and legends, Reiner next helmed the fantastical comedy "The Princess Bride," starring Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon and Mandy Patinkin. The film was another instant hit, and helped launch the career of a young Fred Savage. Around this time, Reiner also co-founded Castle Rock Entertainment, a film and television production company. The business was later sold to Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. in 1993.

In 1989, Reiner scored another big hit with the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally..." The film explored whether men and women can truly just be friends without becoming romantically involved. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan starred as the title characters. His mother, Estelle, also appeared in the movie in a brief cameo. The film proved to be Reiner's biggest film of his career thus far, earning more than $90 million in its United States release.

Not one to stick to a single genre, Reiner carefully crafted the hit 1990 thriller "Misery," starring James Caan and Kathy Bates. Based on a work by Stephen King, the film tells the story of a novelist (Caan) who is being held hostage by a crazed fan (Bates). For her performance in the film, Bates received the 1990 Academy Award for best actress.

Two years later, Reiner scored another box office hit with the military drama "A Few Good Men." The film starred Demi Moore and Tom Cruise as Navy lawyers defending two Marines involved in a hazing-related death. Jack Nicholson gave a tremendous performance as the Marines' base commander. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture—Reiner's only Academy Award nomination to date.

By the end of the 1990s, Reiner had also become very active in liberal politics. He was a supporter and friend to Al Gore during his 2000 presidential bid. In his home state of California, Reiner lobbied hard for an early childhood education initiative. He helped get voters to pass the proposal, which was funded by a special tax on tobacco products. From 1999 to 2006, Reiner served as chairman for First 5 California; he was forced to resign due to a conflict of interest. He aggressively campaigned for another educational initiative for free preschool education while serving as chairman.

In 2007, Reiner fared better with "The Bucket List." The film starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two cancer patients who create a list of things they've always wanted to do before they die. While not a darling of the critics, the movie attracted a substantial audience. The film earned around $175 million at the box office.

In addition to continuing to act, write and direct, Reiner remains politically active, supporting a number of Democratic candidates and causes in recent years. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Michelle. The couple has three children. (Reiner was previously married to actress and director Penny Marshall.)

Related Speakers View all

More like Rob