As reported by Deadline, Bob Einstein—the creator of the Super Dave Osborne character and the actor behind Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Marty Funkhouser—has died. His younger brother, filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks, tweeted that Einstein was a “brilliantly funny man” who “will be missed forever.” Einstein, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, was 76.
Born in 1942, Einstein was the son of comedian Harry Einstein and singer Thelma Leeds, and Deadline notes that he vowed not to pursue a career in comedy when he saw comics like Milton Berle making jokes at his father’s funeral. However, after appearing on a local cable show as a favor to a friend, he drew the attention of Tom Smothers and got a job writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the ‘60s.
In 1972, Einstein created the character Super Dave Osborne for The John Byner Comedy Hour. A hapless stunt performer and fairly obvious parody of Evel Knievel, Super Dave Osborne billed himself as a successful daredevil who had accomplished all sorts of dangerous stunts but would actually fail spectacularly whenever he attempted anything—often resulting in absurdly brutal injuries. Einstein appeared as Super Dave regularly on Johnny Caron’s Tonight Show and David Letterman’s late night shows, not to mention his own eponymous variety show that ran for several years in the late-’80s and early-’90s.
Aside from Super Dave, Einstein’s most recognizable roles to modern audiences were “professional surrogate” Larry Middleman on Arrested Development and Larry David’s frequent nemesis/longtime friend Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Both roles played to Einstein’s strengths as a comedy straight man, reacting with emotionless detachment to the wackiness of Arrested Development and pushing back against (and occasionally joining in on) the latest spiteful scheme Larry David concocted on Curb.
Einstein is survived by his wife, daughter, and two grandchildren.