Though he started out his career as Michael “Meathead” Stivic on the hit 1970s sitcom All in the Family, Rob Reiner has since become known for much more both behind and in front of the camera. Join Facts Verse as we explore what happened to Rob Reiner after All in the Family.
Rob Reiner was born on March 6, 1947, in the Bronx, New York. His father was Carl Reiner, the multi-talented comedian that is perhaps best known for being the creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob grew up with an interest in the arts due to his father, and attended UCLA Film School. In the later half of the 1960s, Rob began acting on television.
Some of the shows Rob appeared on during the early days of his acting career include The Andy Griffith Show, Batman, and The Beverly Hillbillies. Rob’s first role on the big screen was in his father’s 1967 feature Enter Laughing. In 1969, he could be seen in the film Halls of Anger, and he collaborated with his father again the next year in Where’s Poppa? During this period, Rob also began following in the footsteps of his father as a comedy writer, as well, working on Steve Martin’s variety show The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour.
If Rob had already developed an impressive and varied resume, his portrayal of Michael “Meathead” Stivic on All in the Family proved his breakout role in terms of recognition. The show premiered in 1971, and lasted until 1979. Rob portrayed the character for the show’s first eight seasons. Sally Struthers portrayed his wife, whose name was Gloria.
All in the Family became a groundbreaking and influential sitcom for it’s political commentary, due in large part to the relationship between Michael and Archie. Some of the many topics that the show dealt with include racism, homophobia, feminism, abortion, and the Vietnam War. While not all of the views expressed in the show hold up to today’s increased scrutiny, the show still hold’s a place in history for being one of the first of it’s kind to tackle such controversial topics.
Though All in the Family wasn’t immediately successful upon the airing of it’s first season, it eventually became a hit in subsequent years. Eventually, the sitcom became one of the most popular shows on television, ranking at the top of the ratings charts for several years. The success of the show led to five separate spin-offs, none of which featured Rob.
Michael was an orphan whose parents were killed in a car accident. At the time that All in the Family began, he was living with Gloria at her parent’s house. Of course, Gloria’s parents were Archie and Edith Bunker. Although Michael’s relationship with his father-in-law was contentious, his relationship with his mother-in-law was amicable. Edith often served as a mediator between the two, although she wasn’t afraid to defend her husband when he deserved it.
While Archie Bunker represented firm old-fashioned tradition, his son-in-law represented the progressive values of the 1960s. Michael functioned as a spokesperson for the 1960s counterculture, although his character never made any mention of that counterculture’s darker elements. Despite the fact that he espoused progressive values, Michael was still a character with many personal flaws. Still, his heart was in the right place… at least, it was at first. When Rob didn’t want to reprise his role for spin-off Gloria, his character was written off as having left his family to live on a hippie commune.
Rob and Gloria didn’t have any children when All in the Family first started, but were eventually given a son in the form of baby Joseph. Earlier in the shows run, Gloria had become pregnant and suffered a miscarriage. His father-in-law gave Michael the nickname “Meathead” during their initial meeting, which was portrayed in flashback. As the story went, Archie had been called a meathead when he was young, and was simply doing to Michael what had been done to him. Of course, the term referred to the fact that Archie didn’t think his son-in-law’s brain was quite up to snuff.
Rob left All in the Family after the show’s eighth season, and didn’t return for any of the show’s spin-offs. In addition to Gloria, there had also been four other spin-offs, including Archie Bunker’s Place, Maude, and The Jeffersons. While Rob continued acting after leaving All in the Family, his career after his time on the show has truly been defined by his work as a director. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
After achieving fame as an actor thanks to his portrayal of Michael “Meathead” Stivic on eight of All in the Family’s nine seasons, Rob Reiner decided that he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and make a name for himself as a director, as well. Rob achieved his goal and then some, becoming one of the most critically and commercially acclaimed directors of his time. In fact, Rob has arguably achieved more success behind the camera in his life than in front of it. However, Michael has also routinely returned to acting.
Rob’s directorial debut was the 1984 mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap. The film followed it’s titular fictional rock band during an album release cycle and has since become regarded as one of the most popular cult comedies ever. However, it was Rob’s later features that truly solidified his status as one of the preeminent directors of his time. In 1986, Rob directed Stand By Me, which was based upon a short story by Stephen King. The hit drama featured child actors Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, and Corey Feldman.
Rob had already had big successes with This Is Spinal Tap and Stand By Me, as well as 1985’s The Sure Thing, but he was soon going to go on to even greater heights with his subsequent features. In 1987, Rob directed the cult hit fantasy comedy The Princess Bride. The film has gone on to have a more impressive legacy than perhaps any other piece of work from Rob’s filmography. In 1989, he directed When Harry Met Sally… The following year, he directed Kathy Bates in Misery, another film that took it’s inspiration from Stephen King. Though it may have seemed like Rob’s career couldn’t go any higher, he achieved his greatest commercial and critical success so far with 1992’s A Few Good Men.
After the release of A Few Good Men, Rob’s directorial career took a downward trajectory. This started with the 1994 feature North, which was a notorious flop with both audiences and critics. Critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert infamously criticized the film, taking umbrage with what they considered to be offensive stereotypes. Rob would return to success with 1995’s The American President, though his directorial career has never again reached the heights that it one had since the success of A Few Good Men.
Since The American President, Rob has continued returning to the director’s chair every few years with varied results. Some of his notable features in recent years include 2016’s LBJ and 2017’s Shock and Awe. Both films had a political slant, a sign of Rob’s increasing political interests. The star was always liberal, though he has become more outspoken as time has gone on. Nowadays, Rob is known as much for his activism as he is for his acting and directing. Rob has become so infamous for his outspoken activism that he was even made the butt of the joke in an episode of South Park.
In addition to Rob’s continued work behind the scenes, he also hasn’t been afraid to keep popping up in front of the cameras every one in a while. Rob made a notable return to television after several years with a recurring role on the hit comedy New Girl that lasted from 2012 until 2018. As well, he appeared in Martin Scorsese’s memorable 2013 feature The Wolf of Wall Street, portraying Max, the father of Leonardo DiCaprio’s real-life criminal Jordan Belfort.
Rob has been married twice in his life, and has four children. Rob’s first marriage was to another television star that later became a famous director: Penny Marshall. Penny portrayed the character of Laverne on Laverne & Shirley before directing the hit features Big and A League of Their Own.
Penny’s directorial debut didn’t come until after her marriage to Rob came to an end. The couple was married in 1971, and divorced a decade later. Although the two had no biological children, Rob adopted Penny’s daughter from her previous marriage, whose name was Tracy. Tracy has since given Rob several grandchildren, though Penny passed away in 2018. At the time of her death, she was 75.
Rob married second wife, photographer Michele Singer, in 1989, and the two are still married to this day. The couple met while filming When Harry Met Sally… Rob and Michelle have had three biological children. Their first child was son Jake, who was born in 1991. Son Nick followed, born in 1993. Finally, daughter Romy was born in 1997.
Rob has continued his political activism in his old age, having campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The star has been a vocal detractor of former president Donald Trump, having called for the politician’s impeachment during his presidency due to what he believed was serious mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. As well, Rob was one of many celebrities that vocally espoused the theory that Donald Trump’s securing of the 2016 election had been the result of criminal influence exerted by Vladmir Putin and Russia. According to Rob, his next project will be a one-season series depicting the relationship between Donald Trump and Russian president Vladmir Putin, though the series was only an idea at the time that Rob shared it with the journalists.
Whether in front of the camera or behind it, Rob Reiner has certainly left a big footprint. Comment down below to share if you are surprised to learn about all the things that Michael “Meathead” Stivic has been up to in the days since All in the Family came to an end, or if you’re looking forward to Rob’s new television project about Russian collusion. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!