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IN GRADING AND EVALUATION
Sid Caesar Has Beaten
His Race With Success
BY MICHAEL ELKIN
Special to The Jewish News
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Sid Caesar: New lease on life.
Sid Caesar didn't need a
Brutus to stick a knife into his
life's plans. This Caesar already
had booze and pills to do the
The Sid Caesar whose "Your
Show of Shows" and "Caesar's
Hour" were such successes dur-
ing the 50s had become, by the
end of that decade, a sordid
show himself, his life fizzing out
with each new bottle he popped
open. The comedian with the
sourpuss had soured on life.
It wasn't until 1978, at an in-
termission break during a prod-
uction of "Last of the Red Hot
Lovers," that Caesar posed him-'
self the ultimate question, "Sid,
do you want to live or do you
want to die?"
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He opted for life. Audiences
today can attest to the new, re-
juvenated comedian. In fact, ac-
tivity seems to be Caesar's favo-
rite upper these days. In the
past year alone, he has been in-
ducted into the Television
Academy Hall of Fame; starred
in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame"
special, "Love Is Never Silent";
played an amazing magician in
an "Amazing Stories" segment
for television; appeared in the
landmark "Alice in Wonder-
land," also on TV; and sorted
through some 450 hours of
material to come up with a syn-
dicated rendition of "The Best of
Your Show of Shows."
Exercising his option on life
led Caesar to exercise as a way
of life. "Sid Caesar's Shape Up!"
is a video "geared to guys over
40" that features the comedian
strong-arming his way to good
health. "Youth is wasted on the
young except if you're in shape,"
At 63, Caesar is trim and fit
— he does exercises six days a
week. In the process, he has dis-
covered the buddy system. "I am
my own best friend," he says.
"You know, Descartes said, 'I
think, therefore I am,' Well, my
idea is 'I am what I think I am.'
Self-esteem is so important,"
says Caesar. "I now feel that I
don't have to prove myself every
second. I can let myself relax. If
you can't find an hour for your-
self everyday, then you're being
Caesar is not stingy with
praise. He credits Florence, his
wife of 44 years, with helping
him come back from the living
dead. "I owe a lot to her," he
says. "Nobody does it by him-
There was a time when that
was not true for Caesar. In the
1962 show Little Me, Caesar
played seven roles.
It was a magnificent manic
performance, but the talented
Caesar still was not satisfied.
Despite the applause and ac-
colades for his performance,
Caesar was jealous of Sven
Svenson, the dancer who per-
formed a sexy solo, "I've Got
Your Number." Caesar was by
then accustomed to doing num-
bers on himself.
But that wouldn't surprise