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Who Was Bob Einstein? Satirical Stuntman Super Dave Osborne Dies From Cancer at 76

Super Dave Osborne, whose real name was Bob Einstein, died Wednesday morning after a career of stunt-filled sketches, writing for classic TV comedy shows and appearing in a popular returning role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, among several other shows.

Einstein, 76, died in Indian Wells, California. Recently, he had been diagnosed with cancer, reported COS, Consequence of Sound website.

His brother, comedian, actor and writer Albert Brooks, mourned his family’s loss on Twitter: “R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever.”

Comedy Central tweeted: “Bob Einstein had a remarkable and unique career in comedy. He’ll be missed.”

While some fans may remember Einstein most for his annoying turn as Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm, others will remember him for his frequent appearances, dry delivery and wacky satirical stunts on Late Night with David Letterman and other shows.

Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted and linked to a June 25, 1992 episode of Late Night with David Letterman: “Whenever Bob Einstein was on Letterman as ‘Super Dave’ it was un-missable. No one was more confident with the long payoff. A genius panel guest. Look how excited Davis is to have him on.”

Still others – Super Fans, perhaps – may remember the tall, droll comedian from earlier days of television. He broke into the entertainment industry in the 1960s while writing for the famed The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and eventually for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Van Dyke and Company in the 1970s.

The work on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was seminal for Einstein because he worked with fellow writer, future blockbuster comedian and actor Steve Martin – and because the show was revolutionary in tone for calling out the status quo during the Vietnam War amid a tense political climate.

In 1967, Einstein was part of an Emmy Award-team that included Martin, writer Lorenzo Music and seven others who won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy, Variety or Music on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

A decade later, in 1977, Einstein joined star Dick Van Dyke and two others in winning another Emmy for Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Series for Van Dyke and Company.

Borne of comedy stock, Einstein’s older brother, Albert, is perhaps best known in the family. Einstein was born on November 20, 1942 in Los Angeles to comedian-actor Harry Einstein and actress-singer Thelma Leeds. Older brother Cliff Einstein is a retired advertising executive.

In the same vein of dry family humor, Harry Einstein was known by the nickname “Parkyakarkus," according to IMDB

Super Dave Osborne – as Bob Einstein came to be best known – made his greatest mark as a comedian and satirical stuntman starting on The John Byner Comedy Hour in 1972.

Before Late Night with David Letterman, Super Dave Osborne frequently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and even more than on The Steve Allen Show.

Eventually, according to COS, he had a Showtime show in the 1980s and even an animated series, Super Dave: Daredevil for Hire on FOX.

Curb Your Enthusiasm fans may appreciate Einstein’s turn as Funkhouser who cozied up to Larry David as his “best friend” and comic foil in 22 episodes, from 2004 to 2017, according to Einstein’s official website.  

He played Larry Middleman on Arrested Development and had coffee with host Jerry Seinfeld twice on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the laid-back insiders comedy vehicle in which two comedians go for a drive, chat and crack up one another.

Einstein also played Tony Deloge on Crank Yankers.

Other than brothers Albert and Cliff, Einstein is survived by wife Roberta Einstein, daughter Erin Einstein Dale and her husband Andrew Dale, plus two grandchildren.

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