Now Variety has wonderfully helpful detail on that very question, courtesy of Reiner’s nephew George Shapiro:
On June 29, Reiner had been in good spirits all day. He spent time at his Beverly Hills home that evening watching “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” and other programs with dear friend and collaborator Mel Brooks. Around 10 p.m., Reiner was walking out of his TV room with the help of a housekeeper when he stumbled.
“He didn’t fall too hard. It was a gentle buckling of the knees,” Shapiro said. Minutes later, Reiner lost consciousness. “He went out within three minutes,” he said. “He didn’t suffer. Everybody wants to go that way.”
Gee, if only more families would be more forthcoming like this. It’s a pet peeve around Who2 headquarters that so many celebrity deaths and illnesses are shrouded in mystery, even when the details are simply things that happen in normal life. Everyone has a right to privacy, of course, but life is really a lot easier all around when the details are shared with a curious public.
It helps that in this case, the details of his passing are pretty uplifting. “‘The sad part is you feel sorry for yourself that we’re going to miss him,’ Shapiro said. ‘The good part is that he was able to celebrate his life, and he got the chance to go out the way he wanted to.'”