'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Actor Bob Einstein Dead At 76

Before the HBO hit, he was best known for creating the unlucky stuntman character Super Dave Osborne.
Actor Bob Einstein gave us Marty Funkhouser and Super Dave Osborne.
Actor Bob Einstein gave us Marty Funkhouser and Super Dave Osborne.
Christopher Polk via Getty Images

Actor Bob Einstein, who played Marty Funkhouser on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” died Wednesday at age 76 in California.

Einstein’s brother, the writer and actor Albert Brooks, confirmed the death, tweeting, “R.I.P. My dear brother Bob Einstein. A great brother, father and husband. A brilliantly funny man. You will be missed forever.”

He got his start behind the scenes, working alongside names like Steve Martin and Rob Reiner as a writer for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” a satirical program that aired on CBS in the late 1960s.

He appeared on screen playing the cartoonish stunt man Super Dave Osborne on various TV programs in the 1970s and 1980s. The character was eventually spun off into its own series.

Although Super Dave was generally viewed as a parody of stuntman Evel Knievel, Einstein’s inspiration was actually “every asshole who worked on a movie or worked in athletics or anything and when they were interviewed they were always Mr. Gladhand,” he told a television blog in 2009.

In a 1990 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he explained, “I think what’s hysterically funny is a guy who sets himself up as the most confident, everything’s-perfect, know-it-all, things-are-swell human being and then gets wiped out every time.”

Einstein was nominated for six Emmys and took home two: one in 1969 for writing on “The Smothers Brothers” and another in 1977 for “Van Dyke and Company,” a comedy show he produced with Dick Van Dyke.

On “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Einstein appeared as a friend and foil to star Larry David from Season 4 onward, including reprising his role for the post-hiatus ninth season in 2017.

Richard Lewis, who appeared alongside Einstein on the HBO hit, posted a tribute on Twitter, praising the late actor’s “excruciatingly brilliant!” performance.

“He was so loved,” Lewis wrote on Wednesday. “He told me how much he loved [Larry David] and Curb. RIP buddy.”

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