Many fans of classic television recognize Rob Reiner as the man who played the role of Michael Stivic on the CBS sitcom, All in the Family. However, an interesting tidbit that some might not realize is that Reiner went on to direct the 1986 film, Stand by Me.
Reiner, of course, had plenty of success as Michael Stivic on All in the Family from 1971 to 1979. As a matter of fact, he was able to earn himself two Primetime Emmy Awards for his performance in the series. But following his time as a television actor, Reiner made his way to the big screen as a director. He directed movies such as When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men, and, of course, Stand by Me.
The coming-of-age film was famously based on author Stephen King’s 1982 novel, The Body. The title of the film, Stand by Me, came from the popular Ben E. King song. The film stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland.
‘All in the Family’ Star Nearly Brought Stephen King to Tears
It turns out that Rob Reiner invited Stephen King to an early showing of the film. The famous writer was so blown away that he had to leave the room for a little while.
“We showed the film to Stephen King alone in a screening room,” Reiner said in a 1986 interview. ”And when it was over he was pretty broken up. He excused himself for about 15 minutes. When he came back he said, ‘That’s the best film ever made out of anything I’ve written, which isn’t saying much. But you’ve really captured my story. It is autobiographical. All that was made up was the device of the hunt for the body.”
Both the book and film were no doubt meaningful for Stephen King. He said that it was a close friend of his who passed away at a young age that convinced him to become a writer.
“I was the writer,” King said, “and my best friend was the guy who actually did instill the confidence in me to become a writer. And he actually was killed as a young man.”
And we are thankful that he did. Stephen King was on his way to becoming, perhaps, the best horror-writer of all-time. In total, he has published 62 novels and sold more than 350 million copies. So, seeing Reiner and King collaborate on such a meaningful film was a treat.