Rob Reiner

This article is about the actor and director. For the Canadian musician, see Robb Reiner.
Rob Reiner

Reiner in 2016
Born Robert Reiner
(1947-03-06) March 6, 1947
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles

  • Actor
  • writer
  • director
  • producer
  • activist

Years active 1960–present
Notable work All in the Family (Actor)
This is Spinal Tap (Director)
When Harry Met Sally... (Director)
The Princess Bride (Director)
A Few Good Men (Director)
The American President (Director)
Political party Democratic
Religion None
Spouse(s) Penny Marshall (1971–1981; divorced; 1 child)
Michele Singer (1989–present; 3 children)
Children 4, including Tracy Reiner
Parent(s) Carl Reiner (father)
Estelle Reiner (mother)
Relatives Lucas Reiner (brother)
Annie Reiner (sister)

Robert "Rob" Reiner (born March 6, 1947) is an American actor, writer, director, producer, and activist. As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence with the role of Meathead on All in the Family (1971–79). That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s. As a director, Reiner was recognized by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) with nominations for the coming of age comedy-drama film Stand by Me (1986), the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989), and the military courtroom drama A Few Good Men (1992). He also directed the psychological horror-thriller Misery (1990), the romantic comedy fantasy adventure The Princess Bride (1987) and the heavy metal mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984).

Early life

Reiner was born to a Jewish family in The Bronx, New York, and is the son of Estelle Reiner (née Lebost; 1914–2008), an actress, and Carl Reiner, a renowned comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director.[1] As a child, Reiner lived at 48 Bonnie Meadow Road in New Rochelle, New York; the home of the fictional Petrie family in The Dick Van Dyke Show, created by Rob's father, was 148 Bonnie Meadow Lane. He studied at the UCLA Film School.[2]


Reiner (with Bernadette Peters) as Michael Stivic on All in the Family, 1976

In the late 1960s, Reiner acted in bit roles in several television shows including Batman, The Andy Griffith Show, Room 222,Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and The Beverly Hillbillies. He began his career writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968 and 1969. Two years later, Reiner became famous playing Michael Stivic, Archie Bunker's liberal son-in-law, on Norman Lear's 1970s situation comedy All in the Family, which was the most-watched television program in the United States for five seasons (1971–1976). The character's nickname became closely associated with him, even after he had left the role and went on to build a high-profile career as a director. Reiner has stated, "I could win the Nobel Prize and they'd write 'Meathead wins the Nobel Prize'."[3] For his performance, Reiner won two Emmy Awards in addition to three other nominations and five Golden Globe nominations. After an extended absence, Reiner has recently returned to television acting with a recurring role on New Girl (2012–present).

Rob Reiner at the 1988 Emmy Awards.

In 1972, Reiner, Phil Mishkin, and Gerry Isenberg created the situation comedy The Super for ABC. Starring Richard S. Castellano, the show depicted the life of the harried Italian American superintendent of a New York City apartment building and ran for 10 episodes in the summer of 1972. Reiner and Mishkin co-wrote the premiere episode.

Beginning in the 1980s, Reiner became known as a director of several successful Hollywood films that spanned many different genres. Several of these film remains highly popular with fans and critics. Some of his earlier films include cult classics such as the rock-band mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and the comedic fantasy film The Princess Bride (1987), as well as his period piece coming of age tale Stand by Me (1986), which was also highly acclaimed. He often collaborates with film editor Robert Leighton, whom he also shares with fellow director-actor Christopher Guest as their go-to editor.

Reiner has gone on to direct other critically and commercially successful films with his own company, Castle Rock Entertainment. These include several iconic films such as the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989), which has been critically ranked among the all-time best of its genre,[4] the tense thriller Misery (1990), for which Kathy Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and his most commercially successful work, the military courtroom drama A Few Good Men (1992), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[5] Subsequent films directed by Reiner include the political romance The American President (1995), the courtroom drama Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), and the uplifting comedy The Bucket List (2007).

Reiner has continued to act in supporting roles in a number of movies and television shows, including Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), The First Wives Club (1996), Primary Colors (1998), EDtv (1999), New Girl (2012–present), and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). He has also parodied himself with cameos in works such as Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (2003) and 30 Rock (2010).

Politics and activism

Rob Reiner speaking at a Howard Dean rally on Oct 29, 2003

Reiner has devoted considerable time and energy to liberal activism in recent years. His lobbying as an anti-smoking advocate in particular, earned his likeness a satirical role in a South Park episode titled "Butt Out".

Reiner is a co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which initiated the court challenge against California Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage in the state.[6]

Reiner at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2016

In 1998, Reiner chaired the campaign to pass Prop 10, the California Children and Families Initiative, which created First 5 California, a program of early childhood development services, funded by a tax on tobacco products. He served as the first chairman of First 5 California, from 1999 to 2006. Reiner came under criticism for campaigning for a ballot measure (Prop 82) to fund state-run preschools while still chair of the First Five Commission, causing him to resign from his position on March 29, 2006. An audit was conducted, and it concluded that the state commission did not violate state law and that it had clear legal authority to conduct its public advertising campaigns related to preschool. In the end, Prop 82 failed to win approval, garnering only 39.1% support.

Reiner is a member of the Social Responsibility Task Force, an organization advocating moderation where social issues (such as violence and tobacco use) and the entertainment industry meet. He is also active in environmental issues, and he successfully led the effort to establish California's Ahmanson Ranch as a state park and wildlife refuge rather than as a commercial real estate development. He introduced Spinal Tap at the London Live Earth concert in July 2007.

Reiner was mentioned as a possible candidate to run against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 but decided not to run for personal reasons. He campaigned extensively for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential election, and he campaigned in Iowa for Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean just before the 2004 Iowa caucuses. He endorsed Hillary Clinton for president for the 2008 election. In 2015, he donated US$10,000 to Correct the Record, a political action committee which supports Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.[7] Since the 2016 election, he has continued to campaign against Donald Trump, calling him a racist, sexist, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic, and compared him to the Nazi police at Auschwitz.[8]

Personal life

Rob Reiner married actress/director Penny Marshall in 1971. Marshall's daughter, actress Tracy Reiner (A League of Their Own), was from a previous marriage to Michael Henry. Reiner and Marshall divorced in 1981.[9]

Reiner was introduced to his future wife, photographer Michele Singer, while directing When Harry Met Sally. The meeting not only resulted in his deciding to change the ending of that movie,[10] but he also married Singer in 1989. They have three children. In 1997, Reiner and Singer founded the "I Am Your Child Foundation," and in 2004, they founded the "Parents' Action for Children," a non-profit organization with a dual purpose: a) to raise awareness of the importance of a child's early years by producing and distributing celebrity-hosted educational videos for parents, and b) to advance public policy through parental education and advocacy.[11]

Reiner has stated that his childhood home was not observantly Jewish, although he did have a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.[12] He identified himself as having no religious affiliation on the January 13, 2012, episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.[13] Reiner later told Huffington Post contributor Debra Oliver that while he rejected organized religion, he was sympathetic to the ideas of Buddhism.[13]

In addition to his four children, Reiner has five grandchildren, through his step-daughter Tracy.[14]


As director

Year Film Notes
1984 This Is Spinal Tap Also actor and writer
1985 The Sure Thing
1986 Stand by Me Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
1987 The Princess Bride Also producer
1989 When Harry Met Sally... Also producer
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
1990 Misery Also producer
1992 A Few Good Men Also producer
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film
1994 North Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture
Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
1995 The American President Also producer
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Director
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Also producer
1999 The Story of Us Also actor and producer
2003 Alex & Emma Also actor and producer
2005 Rumor Has It...
2007 The Bucket List Also producer
2010 Flipped Also producer and writer
2012 The Magic of Belle Isle Also producer
2014 And So It Goes Also actor and producer
2015 Being Charlie Also producer
2016 LBJ Also producer
2017 Shock and Awe Also producer

As actor

Year Film Role Notes
1967 Enter Laughing Clark Baxter
1969 Halls of Anger Leaky Couloris
1970 Where's Poppa? Roger
1971 Summertree Don
1977 Fire Sale Russel Fikus
1979 The Jerk Truck Driver Picking Up Navin Uncredited
1984 This Is Spinal Tap Marty DiBergi Also director and writer
1987 Throw Momma from the Train[15] Joel
1990 Postcards from the Edge Joe Pierce
Misery Helicopter pilot Uncredited
Also director and producer
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Jay
1994 Bullets over Broadway Sheldon Flender
Mixed Nuts Dr. Klinsky
1995 For Better or Worse Dr. Plosner
Bye Bye Love Dr. David Townsend
1996 The First Wives Club Dr. Morris Packman National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
1998 Primary Colors Izzy Rosenblatt
1999 EDtv Mr. Whitaker
The Muse Rob Reiner
The Story of Us Stan Also director and producer
2001 The Majestic Studio executive Voice role
2003 Alex & Emma Wirschafter Also director and producer
Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Rob Reiner
2006 Everyone's Hero Screwie Voice role
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street Max Belfort
2014 And So It Goes Artie Also director and producer

As actor

Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Mothers-In-Law Joe Turner TV series
One episode
1967 Batman Delivery Boy TV series
One episode
1967 The Andy Griffith Show Joe, The Printer's Apprentice TV series
One episode
1967–1969 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Various TV series
3 episodes
1969 The Beverly Hillbillies Mitch TV series
2 episodes
1971 The Partridge Family Snake TV series
One episode
1971–1978 All in the Family Michael "Meathead" Stivic TV series regular
Actor – 182 episodes
Writer – 4 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1974, 1978)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1972, 1973, 1975)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television (1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977)
1974 The Rockford Files Larry 'King' Sturtevant TV series
One episode
1974 The Odd Couple Sheldn, Myrna's boyfriend TV series
One episode
1978 Free Country Joseph Bresner TV series
5 episodes
1978 More Than Friends Alan Corkus TV Movie
1979 Archie Bunker's Place Michael Stivic TV series
2 episodes
1982 Million Dollar Infield Monte Miller TV movie
Also writer
2012–2015 New Girl Bob Day TV series
6 episodes

As writer or director

Year Title Notes
1967 The Smothers Brothers TV series
Writer only
20 episodes
1971–1972 All in the Family Writer – 4 episodes
Also actor
1972 The Super TV series
Co-creator and writer
1974 Happy Days TV series
Co-wrote the first episode
1978 More Than Friends TV Movie
1981 Likely Stories: Vol. 1 TV movie
Writer and director
1982 Million Dollar Infield TV movie
Also actor

As self

Year Title Role Notes
1973 The $10,000 Pyramid Guest as himself on debut week TV series
5 episodes
1975 Saturday Night Live Host/Various TV series
One episode
1987–1990 It's Garry Shandling's Show Himself TV series
4 episodes
1991 Morton & Hayes Narrator TV series
6 episodes
1994 The Larry Sanders Show Himself TV series
One episode
2001 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself TV series
One episode
2006 The Simpsons Himself TV series
One episode
Voice role
2006 Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip Himself TV series
One episode
2009 Hannah Montana Himself TV series
One episode
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place Himself TV series
One episode
2010 30 Rock Rep. Rob Reiner TV series
One episode
2010–2016 Real Time with Bill Maher Guest TV series
Six episodes
2014 The Case Against 8 Himself HBO Documentary
2015 Happyish Himself TV series
2015 The Comedians Himself TV series
One episode[16]


  1. "Rob Reiner Biography (1947–)". Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  2. "Alumni of the UCLA Film School". Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  3. "Yehey! Entertainment". Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  4. "AFI's 10 Top 10". American Film Institute. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  5. "Rob Reiner". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  6. "Civil Rights Activist: Director Rob Reiner". WeHo Confidential. August 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  7. "Correct the Record: Contributors, 2016 cycle". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  8. interview on MSNBC, November 11, 2016
  9. Abramowitz, p. 291
  10. Ihnat, Gwen (September 3, 2016). "Rob Reiner on his favorite films, and why he changed the ending of When Harry Met Sally…". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  11. Lavoie, Richard (2005). It's So Much Work to Be Your Friend. New York: Touchstone. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0-7432-5463-2.
  12. "Rob Reiner: At last, I'm having what she's having".
  13. 1 2 "Debra Ollivier: Rob Reiner On The Magic Of Belle Isle And 'Living Your Life Until You Can't'". June 23, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  14. Rob Reiner grandchildren
  15. Maslin, Janet (1987-12-11). "Throw Momma from the Train". The New York Times.
  16. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (January 18, 2015). "Mel Brooks & Jimmy Kimmel Set To Guest Star On FX's 'The Comedians'". Variety.
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