Television actor Sid Caesar, an influential figure in comedy during the second half of the 20th century in the United States, died Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, California, after a brief illness, The Hollywood Reporter said. He was 91.

Caesar inspired artists such as Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, among others, thanks to his enjoyable way of portraying daily life, at times with a Chaplinesque touch of pathos, and he even had among his fans physicist Albert Einstein.

The beloved funnyman was born in Yonkers, N.Y., to an Austrian-born restaurant owner and his Russian-born wife, both of whom were Jewish immigrants.

He gained popularity in the early 1950s with innovative evening variety programs such as "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour," which were broadcast on Saturday and formed the basis for later successes such as "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and the long-running "Saturday Night Live."

Caesar won two Emmys and was nominated for nine more of the TV awards, although outside the United States he did not enjoy the same popularity.

He participated as a supporting actor in several Hollywood films, including "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963) and "Cannonball Run II" (1984), but his best-known role on the big screen was that of Rydell High's Coach Calhoun in the 1978 musical "Grease." EFE