Bob Einstein — an Emmy-winning writer, the creator of Super Dave Osborne, and an actor most famous for his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm — died Wednesday at the age of 76.
Einstein played Marty Funkhouser, longtime friend who vexes Larry David (Larry David), in nearly two dozen episodes of the HBO comedy since making his debut in season 4. His last appearance came in the most recent season. (He was slated to be part of the upcoming 10th season but could not participate due to his declining health.) His other credits include Roseanne, Ocean’s Thirteen, and Arrested Development, the latter of which he appeared in several episodes as the “surrogate” for an imprisoned George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor).
Einstein, whose younger brother is Albert Brooks, began his career in advertising before being discovered by Tom Smothers. Einstein achieved great success as a writer, writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, and Van Dyke and Company. He scored four Emmy nominations for writing on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Van Dyke and Company, and won two Emmys, the first for writing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the second for being an executive producer of Van Dyke and Company, which won Outstanding Comedy in 1977.
He also birthed and played the beloved character of blundering stuntman Super Dave Osborne, who first appeared in the early 70s on The John Byner Comedy Hour and later in the early-’80s sketch comedy Bizarre as well as the late-’80s/’90s Showtime series Super Dave. He revived the character over the years, including in 2009’s Super Dave’s Spike-Tacular.
Einstein was mourned on social media on Wednesday. “R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein,” tweeted Brooks. “A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever.” Fellow Curb actor Richard Lewis tweeted that Einstein’s “long career is hard to match. His role on #curbyourenthusiasm was excruciatingly brilliant! Our cast and crew will be devastated. He was so loved. He told me how much he loved LD and Curb. RIP buddy.” Meanwhile, Curb star Cheryl Hines mourned, “We lost a friend today. Thanks for all of the laughs on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Our love to Bob’s family. #BobEinstein #SuperDave. The comedy world will miss you.”
David paid tribute to Einstein in a statement. “Never have I seen an actor enjoy a role the way Bob did playing Marty Funkhouser on Curb,” he said. “It was an amazing, unforgettable experience knowing and working with him. There was no one like him, as he told us again and again. We’re all in a state of shock.”
Jimmy Kimmel also praised his comedic prowess, writing, “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.”