By Ian Hollenshead
Rob Reiner is an actor and director born in the Bronx, New York on March 6th, 1945. He was the only child of famous actor Carl Reiner and actress and entertainer Estelle Reiner. He went to school at UCLA, but flunked for skipping too many of his classes. Later, he married Penny Marshall, who, unbeknownst to Reiner, lived across the street from him when he grew up. They divorced after 10 years and he later married his current wife Michelle Singer. They have three kids: Tracy, Nick, and Jake Reiner.
I chose the background I have because it is reminiscent of New York, where Rob was born, and because it reminds me of bigger cities like Los Angeles, where Rob worked in Hollywood.
The first of three facts I found interesting about Rob Reiner was that he was involved in successful television programs like All in the Family. These are where he got his beginnings, and what opened doors in his life. Another fact is that he made one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. It's interesting because it is a different kind of fairy tale and I really liked the movie when I saw it. He also helped develop cigarette taxes to help stop people from buying cigarettes, and to have the proceeds go to help children's development. I like this because it shows a kind person who wants to help other people. "[Reiner] realized that people needed to think more deeply about how children are raised and what effect the earliest years of development have on later behavior." [Reiner 73]
Reiner is a very successful person. Not only is he an accomplished actor and director, having acted in 20 movies and TV shows, but he has directed 5 television shows and 13 different movies. And, to top it all off, he even started and co-owned his own movie company, Castle Rock Entertainment. "[As a director,] he can do a little bit of everything, depending on the story he wants to tell. He's able to branch out and direct all kinds of movies, comedy or drama." [ Baccal 56]
As a director, he made many great movies, but his life was pretty bad at one point. When the final season for All in the Family came around, he lost his only job. So, while he couldn't find a job, his wife at the time, Penny Marshall, had a job as an actress on Laverne & Shirley. The marriage started to fall apart, and eventually they both decided to get a divorce. This was one of the hardest moments of his life. "I think any man would be lying if he said it wasn't an ego blow to have his wife making more money than he was or working when he was not. " [Reiner 33]
His biggest friend was a fellow actor named Billy Crystal. He met Billy on the set of All in the Family, as a fellow actor playing the part of his best friend. Later, the two became best friends in real life, becoming in tune with each other on a psychological level. They were and still are great friends. "[We were] two guys talking to each other like I don't think guys talk to each other" [Reiner 52]
As an actor and director, Reiner has had some impressive dedications. He won two Emmys for acting, an MTV movie award for his movie A Few Good Men, the honorary People's Choice Award for thirty years in TV and film. Rob even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to his father's.
Reiner had always had a passion for supporting children's development. This took a lot of his time in his later years when he took a leave from directing. He would also try to spend a lot of time with his three kids and wife as a family.
I believe a good symbol for Reiner would be a camera. This is a good symbol because he spent most of his adult life either behind or in front of one, and his entire career was dependent on it ,even until now. It has always been something important to Reiner, and will always be what people know him for.
Friend or Foe?
I personally believe that Reiner and I would be good friends. He has determination and kindness, and can be very entertaining. These are qualities I have wanted to see in myself, and I might catch a little of it if I was his friend. He's also an actor and director, whereas I have had some interest in theater. He also was shy and introspective as a kid, so I feel like I could relate to him on that.
I would like to say that Reiner can be compared to my father. The reason I say this is because they are both very hard working and compassionate. They are also both great and respectable father figures. And on top of that, they are both so caring and kind, it's kind of cool how alike they are in their personalities.
Altruist or Egotist?
With no doubt in my mind, I can confidently say that Rob Reiner is an altruist. The proof for this argument is his countless hours of dedication to the cause of children's development. He even temporarily shut down his career to focus on his goals. He sunk 2 million dollars of his own money into the project. He gave up a huge amount of money to help spread his message. That is an incredible sacrifice. He also connects his own story with every movie he makes. The characters are an expression of himself, and the characters are all so genuine. "[Reiner] didn't make a movie for two years and sacrificed more than 10 million dollars to start the foundation for better childcare, educate the public and chair ballot campaign." [Reiner 75]
Reiner's early life was focused around comedy. His best friend Billy Crystal was a comedian, and they met through the comedic soap, All in the Family. His first time being on the stage was in a childhood comedy club of sorts, The Session. Comedy was a big influence in his early life, and an important part of him as a whole.
One of Rob's biggest ambitions has been his campaigns to add taxes to cigarettes to discourage people from buying them. The proceeds to the taxes would go to children's development centers all throughout the state. These taxes were potentially going to help hundreds of kids with developmental problems. It was a win-win. Rob feels extremely strong towards this cause. He even sacrificed a potential 10 million dollars for it. "I have seen a lot of Hollywood celebrities put their name or face on an issue, but never had I seen anyone immerse themselves as deeply or as passionately as Reiner." [ Emmons 75]