Bob Einstein died Wednesday at the age of 76, leaving behind a comedic legacy that stretched across a half-century in film and TV. Starting as an Emmy-winning writer and frequent contributor on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” opposite Steve Martin, Einstein came to prominence with the creation of the character Super Dave Osborne. The fictional stuntman went on to become a cultural touchstone, spawning multiple TV series, a feature film, and a number of commercial appearances.
With a career spanning decades, some of his best-known work came in recent years, most notably as Marty Funkhouser on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The show’s leading lady, Cheryl Hines, tweeted a photo of Einstein. “We lost a friend today. Thanks for all the laughs,” she wrote. “The comedy world will miss you.”
— Cheryl Hines (@CherylHines) January 2, 2019
Goodbye Bob Einstein (aka Marty Funkhouser) and thank you for this joke. "I like that guy." pic.twitter.com/dmOJDx4CT4
— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) January 2, 2019
A year after joining “Curb,” Einstein had a memorable run on “Arrested Development” as Larry Middleman, George Bluth’s surrogate and literal voice while under house arrest. His deadpan delivery was one of the highlights of the show’s third season.
RIP Bob Einstein pic.twitter.com/VdkSBTnMlV
— Arrested Development (@bluthquotes) January 2, 2019
Einstein was a late night fixture, with a career spanning from the network heyday, all the way through multiple appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Kimmel shared a legendary moment from “Super Dave,” a series that ran for five seasons in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
His name was Bob Einstein, but we all called him Supe. Super Dave was a great friend and the master of a joke you could see coming for miles that still killed when it arrived. I will miss him https://t.co/JRkMp8XkCJ
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 2, 2019
Among his assorted supporting roles, Einstein also made an appearance on the TV version of Comedy Bang! Bang!
— Scott Aukerman (@ScottAukerman) January 2, 2019
Plenty of industry folks shared their personal recollections, including writer Josh Friedman, who explained how a talk with a family friend turned into a classic piece of advice.
"Look," he said. "About this contract? It doesn't matter. Option it, don't option it. What you need to know is: they're not gonna make it. Nothing's gonna happen. If someone's gonna give you ANY MONEY for something you wrote, just take it."
— josh friedman (@Josh_Friedman) January 2, 2019
Albert Brooks, Einstein’s brother, shared a brief tribute as well.
R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever.
— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) January 2, 2019
Wednesday’s news prompted many film fans to share Einstein’s supporting performance in Brooks’ 1981 film “Modern Romance” as a particular career highlight.
The most recent season of “Curb” marked Einstein’s last on-screen appearance. Marty Funkhouser became such an iconic “Curb” character that it became a popular pseudonym for celebrities checking into hotels. One unnamed member of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team used it during the 2017 playoffs, while Radiohead member and “Phantom Thread” composer Jonny Greenwood revealed that he used it on the band’s recent tours.
— Jonny Greenwood (@JnnyG) January 2, 2019