Rob Reiner

Actor / Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Rob Reiner talks about growing up surrounded by the group of comedy legends that included his father, Carl, Sid Caesar, and Mel Brooks. He discusses his first forays into performing and lists some of his early television appearances. He discusses his work as a television writer, particularly his staff job on the last season of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which he was partnered with Steve Martin. Reiner speaks in great detail about his next significant career achievement as a regular on the groundbreaking sitcom All in the Family. He discusses working with the series ensemble, describes his character "Mike 'Meathead' Stivic," and talks about the collaborative atmosphere on the set. Reiner then details his work as a director of feature films including such now-classic movies as "This Is Spinal Tap," "Stand By Me," "The Princess Bride," "When Harry Met Sally…" and "Misery." Reiner also talks about his role in the creation of Castle Rock Productions and his then-current work on children's development awareness, through "Parents Action for Children." Karen Herman conducted the interview on November 29, 2004 at Reiner's Castle Rock Productions offices in Beverly Hills, CA.

"Literally every day of my life, somebody will say, 'Hey, Meathead!' No matter what I do with my life - I could win the Nobel Prize - it will say, 'Meathead wins Nobel.' It doesn't matter. I have Norman Lear to thank for that."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Rob Reiner on his professional acting debut, and on his first directing jobs
Rob Reiner on "Mike's" nickname "Meathead" on All in the Family, which came from what Norman Lear's father used to call him
Rob Reiner on a typical work week on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on his final regular All in the Family episode "The Stivics Go West"
Rob Reiner on directing the feature film Stephen King's "Stand By Me"
Rob Reiner on working with show creator Norman Lear on All in the Family
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on famous people who used to visit his father Carl Reiner at home when he was a little boy; on witnessing his father Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks doing their "2000 Year Old Man" routine when he was a kid
On his memories of Sid Caesar from when he was a child, and on a 1994 reunion of Your Show of Shows writers; on his mother, Estelle Reiner and on his family's sense of humor while he was growing up; on interest in reading, sports, television and movies when he was growing up
On the burden of being the son of Carl Reiner, and on how he dealt with it; on how Carl and Estelle Reiner dealt with his wanting to get into show business, and on working with Albert Brooks early on; on his visiting the set of his father Carl Reiner's series The Dick Van Dyke Show, and on how the show reflected his own family life

Chapter 2

On the way marriage was portrayed on The Dick Van Dyke Show; on his professional acting debut, and on his first directing jobs; on his television acting debut on Hey Landlord! created by Garry Marshall
On appearing on various series, including That Girl, Gomer Pyle, and The Mothers-In-Law from which he was fired after a fight with Desi Arnaz; on guest-starring on Batman, and on playing a number of hippies; on leaving UCLA, and on getting his first acting jobs
On writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring Tom and Dick Smothers; on being partnered with Steve Martin on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and on the writer's room of that show; on censorship issues surrounding The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour mostly handled by Tom Smothers
On the regulars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, as well as the musical guests; on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour; on the end of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and on writing plays

Chapter 3

On writing the special Romp!!! and on his writing partner Phil Mishkin; on appearing on the Andy Griffith series Headmaster, from which he got cast on All in the Family; on auditioning with wife Penny Marshall for All in the Family, and on Sally Struthers being cast as "Gloria Stivic"
On working with show creators Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin on All in the Family ; on how he felt All in the Family would be received by the public; on his All in the Family character "Mike 'Meathead' Stivic"
On "Mike Stivic's" relationship with "Gloria Stivic" played by Sally Struthers on All in the Family; on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family ; on Carroll O'Connor and Norman Lear's relationship on All in the Family

Chapter 4

On making "Archie Bunker" more acceptable to audiences, and on his relationship with "Mike Stivic"; on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker" on All in the Family ; on working with Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic" on All in the Family
On the birth of "Mike" and "Gloria's" son "Joey Stivic" on All in the Family; on issues some of the cast had with their contracts on All in the Family; on working with Mike Evans as "Lionel Jefferson" on All in the Family and Isabel Sanford as "Louise Jefferson"
On various guest stars on All in the Family including Beatrice Arthur, Vincent Gardenia, and Betty Garrett; on a typical work week on All in the Family
On the biggest laughs from the studio audience on All in the Family and on censorship issues with the show; on the writing process of All in the Family

Chapter 5

On the writing process of All in the Family; on winning Emmy Awards for All in the Family; on writing various episodes of All in the Family
On his final All in the Family episode "The Stivics Go West"; on the legacy of All in the Family; on writing the series The Super and various other projects
On working on various projects, and on working with Penny Marshall, who he was married to; on hosting an early episode of Lorne Michaels' Saturday Night Live

Chapter 6

On working with his father, Carl Reiner, on Good Heavens; on creating and starring on the short-lived 1978 sitcom Free Country; on directing Likely Stories and The T.V. Show
On making the transition from television to feature films with "This is Spinal Tap"; on directing the feature film Stephen King's "Stand By Me"
On directing the feature film "Misery" starring Kathy Bates; on directing the feature film "When Harry Met Sally" starring Billy Crystal; on directing the feature film "A Few Good Men" written by Aaron Sorkin

Chapter 7

On directing the feature film North; on deciding on what projects he wants to direct; on his directing style and working with his editor
On various people he worked with in his career including Christopher Guest, River Phoenix, Mandy Patinkin and Mike Nichols; on his various production partners; on various people he worked with in his career including Lauren Bacall, Michael J. Fox, James Woods, and Ellen DeGeneres
On his production company, Castle Rock; on his production company Castle Rock's producing Seinfeld

Chapter 8

On the talents of Jerry Seinfeld and the success of Seinfeld produced by Castle Rock; on the then-current status of Castle Rock; on guest-starring on The Larry Sanders Show and appearing in various feature films
On his charity "I Am Your Child"; on career achievements and regrets
On advice to aspiring actors, writers, and directors; on his family; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

All in the Family

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Rob Reiner on appearing on the Andy Griffith series Headmaster, from which he got cast on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on auditioning with wife Penny Marshall for All in the Family, and on Sally Struthers being cast as "Gloria Stivic"
Rob Reiner on working with show creator Norman Lear on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with Bud Yorkin on All in the Family, and on writing episodes of the series
Rob Reiner on how he felt All in the Family would be received by the public
Rob Reiner on his All in the Family character "Mike 'Meathead' Stivic" and on being directed by John Rich
Rob Reiner on "Mike's" nickname "Meathead" on All in the Family, which came from what Norman Lear's father used to call him
Rob Reiner on "Mike Stivic's" relationship with "Gloria Stivic" played by Sally Struthers on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on Carroll O'Connor and Norman Lear's relationship on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on making "Archie Bunker" more acceptable to audiences, and on his relationship with "Mike Stivic"
Rob Reiner on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on the birth of "Mike" and "Gloria's" son "Joey Stivic" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on issues some of the cast had with their contracts on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with Mike Evans as "Lionel Jefferson" on All in the Family and Isabel Sanford as "Louise Jefferson"
Rob Reiner on various guest stars on All in the Family including Beatrice Arthur, Vincent Gardenia, and Betty Garrett
Rob Reiner on a typical work week on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on the set and cameras of All in the Family and
Rob Reiner on the biggest laughs from the studio audience on All in the Family and on censorship issues with the show
Rob Reiner on the writing process of All in the Family
Rob Reiner on the writing process of All in the Family
Rob Reiner on winning Emmy Awards for All in the Family
Rob Reiner on writing various episodes of All in the Family
Rob Reiner on his final All in the Family episode "The Stivics Go West"
Rob Reiner on the legacy of All in the Family

Batman

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Rob Reiner on guest-starring on Batman, and on playing a number of hippies

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Rob Reiner on his visiting the sets of his father Carl Reiner's series The Dick Van Dyke Show, and interacting with stars Jerry Paris and Mary Tyler Moore
Rob Reiner on how The Dick Van Dyke Show reflected his own family life
Rob Reiner on the way marriage was portrayed on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Rob Reiner on winning Emmys for All in the Family

Free Country

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Rob Reiner on creating and starring on the short-lived 1978 sitcom Free Country

Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Good Heavens

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Rob Reiner on working with his father, Carl Reiner, on Good Heavens

Happy Days

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Rob Reiner on contributing writing to the pilot for Happy Days

Headmaster

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Rob Reiner on appearing on the Andy Griffith series Headmaster, from which he got cast on All in the Family

Hey Landlord!

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Rob Reiner on his television acting debut on Hey Landlord! created by Garry Marshall

Larry Sanders Show, The

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Rob Reiner on guest-starring on The Larry Sanders Show

Mothers-In-Law, The

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Rob Reiner on appearing on various series, including That Girl, Gomer Pyle, and The Mothers-In-Law from which he was fired after a fight with Desi Arnaz

Romp!!!

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Rob Reiner on writing the special Romp!!! and on his writing partner Phil Mishkin

Saturday Night Live

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Rob Reiner on hosting an early episode of Lorne Michaels' Saturday Night Live

Seinfeld

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Rob Reiner on his production company Castle Rock's producing Seinfeld
Rob Reiner on the talents of Jerry Seinfeld and the success of Seinfeld produced by Castle Rock

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring Tom and Dick Smothers
Rob Reiner on being partnered with Steve Martin on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and on the writer's room of that show
Rob Reiner on censorship issues surrounding The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour mostly handled by Tom Smothers
Rob Reiner on the regulars on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, as well as the musical guests
Rob Reiner on the cancellation of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and what he learned from his time on the show

Super, The

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Rob Reiner on writing the series The Super

T.V. Show, The

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Rob Reiner on directing The T.V. Show, which spawned Spinal Tap

That Girl

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Rob Reiner on appearing on various series, including That Girl, Gomer Pyle, and The Mothers-In-Law from which he was fired after a fight with Desi Arnaz

Your Show of Shows

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Rob Reiner on his memories of Sid Caesar from when he was a child, and on a 1994 reunion of Your Show of Shows writers
Topics

Advice

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Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring actors
Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring comedy writers and directors

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Rob Reiner on the biggest laughs from the studio audience on All in the Family and on censorship issues with the show

Characters & Catchphrases

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Rob Reiner on "Mike's" nickname "Meathead" on All in the Family, which came from what Norman Lear's father used to call him

Emmy Awards

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Rob Reiner on winning Emmys for All in the Family

Pop Culture

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Rob Reiner on "Mike's" nickname "Meathead" on All in the Family, which came from what Norman Lear's father used to call him

Studio and Network Management

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Rob Reiner on his production company, Castle Rock

Television Industry

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Rob Reiner on the biggest laughs from the studio audience on All in the Family and on censorship issues with the show
Rob Reiner on his production company, Castle Rock
Rob Reiner on the then-current status of Castle Rock
Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring actors
Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring comedy writers and directors
Professions

Actor

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Rob Reiner on what his All in the Family co-star Carroll O'Connor taught him about acting, in terms of the importance of quality material
Rob Reiner on what his All in the Family co-star Carroll O'Connor taught him about acting, in terms of the importance of quality material
Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring actors

Directors

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Rob Reiner on deciding on what projects he wants to direct
Rob Reiner on his directing style
Rob Reiner on working with editors as a director
Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring comedy writers and directors

Performers

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Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring actors

Writers

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Rob Reiner on advice to aspiring comedy writers and directors
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Rob Reiner on his visiting the sets of his father Carl Reiner's series The Dick Van Dyke Show
Rob Reiner on the way marriage was portrayed on The Dick Van Dyke Show
Rob Reiner on his television acting debut on Hey Landlord! created by Garry Marshall
Rob Reiner on appearing on various series, including That Girl, Gomer Pyle, and The Mothers-In-Law from which he was fired after a fight with Desi Arnaz
Rob Reiner on playing "Mike Stivic" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on playing "Mike Stivic" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on starring on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with his father, Carl Reiner, on Good Heavens
Rob Reiner on creating and starring on the short-lived 1978 sitcom Free Country
Rob Reiner on directing Likely Stories
Rob Reiner on his production company Castle Rock's producing Seinfeld
Rob Reiner on the talents of Jerry Seinfeld and the success of Seinfeld produced by Castle Rock
Rob Reiner on guest-starring on The Larry Sanders Show

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Rob Reiner on guest-starring on Batman, and on playing a number of hippies

Drama Series

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Rob Reiner on appearing on the Andy Griffith series Headmaster, from which he got cast on All in the Family

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring Tom and Dick Smothers
Rob Reiner on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour
Rob Reiner on writing Romp!!!
Rob Reiner on guest hosting Saturday Night Live
Rob Reiner on directing The T.V. Show, which spawned Spinal Tap
People

Jennifer Aniston

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Rob Reiner on directing Jennifer Aniston in Rumor Has It

Desi Arnaz

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Rob Reiner on appearing on various series, including That Girl, Gomer Pyle, and The Mothers-In-Law from which he was fired after a fight with Desi Arnaz

Beatrice Arthur

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Rob Reiner on various guest stars on All in the Family including Beatrice Arthur, Vincent Gardenia, and Betty Garrett

Lauren Bacall

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Rob Reiner on directing Lauren Bacall in "Misery"

Mel Brooks

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Rob Reiner on witnessing his father Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks doing their 2000 Year Old Man routine when he was a kid

Albert Brooks

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Rob Reiner on how Carl and Estelle Reiner dealt with his wanting to get into show business, and on working with Albert Brooks early on

Sid Caesar

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Rob Reiner on his memories of Sid Caesar from when he was a child, and on a 1994 reunion of Your Show of Shows writers

Glen Campbell

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour

Billy Crystal

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Rob Reiner on directing the feature film "When Harry Met Sally" starring Billy Crystal

Joan Cusack

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Rob Reiner on directing John Cusack

Mike Evans

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Rob Reiner on working with Mike Evans as "Lionel Jefferson" on All in the Family and Isabel Sanford as "Louise Jefferson"

Michael J. Fox

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Rob Reiner on directing Michael J. Fox in "The American President"

Vincent Gardenia

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Rob Reiner on various guest stars on All in the Family including Beatrice Arthur, Vincent Gardenia, and Betty Garrett

Betty Garrett

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Rob Reiner on various guest stars on All in the Family including Beatrice Arthur, Vincent Gardenia, and Betty Garrett

Andy Griffith

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Rob Reiner on appearing on the Andy Griffith series Headmaster, from which he got cast on All in the Family

Christopher Guest

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Rob Reiner on Christopher Guest

Stephen King

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Rob Reiner on directing the feature film Stephen King's "Stand By Me"

Norman Lear

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Rob Reiner on working with show creator Norman Lear on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on Carroll O'Connor and Norman Lear's relationship on All in the Family

Garry Marshall

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Rob Reiner on his television acting debut on Hey Landlord! created by Garry Marshall

Penny Marshall

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Rob Reiner on auditioning with then-wife Penny Marshall for All in the Family, and on Sally Struthers being cast as "Gloria Stivic"
Rob Reiner on working with then-wife Penny Marshall

Steve Martin

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Rob Reiner on being partnered with Steve Martin on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and on the writer's room of that show

Lorne Michaels

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Rob Reiner on hosting an early episode of Lorne Michaels' Saturday Night Live

Mary Tyler Moore

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Rob Reiner on his visiting the sets of his father Carl Reiner's series The Dick Van Dyke Show, and interacting with stars Jerry Paris and Mary Tyler Moore

Mike Nichols

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Rob Reiner on Mike Nichols

Carroll O'Connor

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Rob Reiner on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on Carroll O'Connor and Norman Lear's relationship on All in the Family

Jerry Paris

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Rob Reiner on his visiting the sets of his father Carl Reiner's series The Dick Van Dyke Show, and interacting with stars Jerry Paris and Mary Tyler Moore

Mandy Patinkin

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Rob Reiner on directing Mandy Patinkin in "The Princess Bride"

Michelle Pfeiffer

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Rob Reiner on directing Michelle Pfeiffer in "The Story of Us"

Carl Reiner

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Rob Reiner on famous people who used to visit his father Carl Reiner at home when he was a little boy
Rob Reiner on witnessing his father Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks doing their 2000 Year Old Man routine when he was a kid
Rob Reiner on the burden of being the son of Carl Reiner, and on how he dealt with it
Rob Reiner on how Carl and Estelle Reiner dealt with his wanting to get into show business, and on working with Albert Brooks early on
Rob Reiner on how Carl and Estelle Reiner dealt with his wanting to get into show business, and on working with Albert Brooks early on
Rob Reiner on the burden of being the son of Carl Reiner, and on how he dealt with it
Rob Reiner on working with his father, Carl Reiner, on Good Heavens

Estelle Reiner

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Rob Reiner on his mother, Estelle Reiner and on his family's sense of humor while he was growing up
Rob Reiner on how Carl and Estelle Reiner dealt with his wanting to get into show business, and on working with Albert Brooks early on

Isabel Sanford

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Rob Reiner on working with Mike Evans as "Lionel Jefferson" on All in the Family and Isabel Sanford as "Louise Jefferson"

Jerry Seinfeld

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Rob Reiner on the talents of Jerry Seinfeld and the success of Seinfeld produced by Castle Rock

Dick Smothers

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring Tom and Dick Smothers

Tom Smothers

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Rob Reiner on writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featuring Tom and Dick Smothers
Rob Reiner on censorship issues surrounding The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour mostly handled by Tom Smothers

Aaron Sorkin

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Rob Reiner on the feature film "A Few Good Men"

Jean Stapleton

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Rob Reiner on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker" on All in the Family

Sally Struthers

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Rob Reiner on auditioning with wife Penny Marshall for All in the Family, and on Sally Struthers being cast as "Gloria Stivic"
Rob Reiner on "Mike Stivic's" relationship with "Gloria Stivic" played by Sally Struthers on All in the Family
Rob Reiner on working with Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic" on All in the Family

Wil Wheaton

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Rob Reiner on directing River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton and Kieffer Sutherland in Stand By Me

Bruce Willis

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Rob Reiner on directing Bruce Willis in "North"

James Woods

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Rob Reiner on directing James Woods in "A Few Good Men"

Bud Yorkin

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Rob Reiner on working with Bud Yorkin on All in the Family, and on writing episodes of the series

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