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• Sid Caesar, a seminal figure in the history of television, has passed away at the age of 91.

Caesar's 1950-54 TV series, "Your Show of Shows," was a 90-minute sketch show, co-starring Imogene Coca, that had as its writers people like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner (who based Alan Brady on Caesar for "The Dick Van Dyke Show"), Neil Simon (who wrote about the experience in his play, "Laughter on the 23rd Floor") and Larry Gelbart ("M*A*S*H").

Later in his life, Caesar struggled with pill and alcohol addiction, but survived to become a regular TV and film presence. While he never achieved the kind of greatness that characterized his early career, his peers and successors generally agreed that Caesar was both a comic genius and a complete original.

"Sid Caesar set the template for everybody,” Reiner has been quoted as saying. "He was without a doubt the greatest sketch comedian-monologist that television ever produced. He could ad lib. He could do anything that was necessary to make an audience laugh.”

And Brooks has said, "I know of no other comedian, including Chaplin, who could have done nearly 10 years of live television. Nobody’s talent was ever more used up than Sid’s."
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