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Larry Gelbart

Larry Gelbart



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Also Known As: Larry Simon Gelbart,Francis Burns Died: September 11, 2009
Born: February 25, 1928 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA Profession: Writer ... screenwriter producer director lyricist


As one of the premiere writers to have worked on the small screen, Larry Gelbart was responsible for creating some of the finest television in history. After getting his start writing for Danny Thomas' radio show, Gelbart was at the forefront of the Golden Age of television, writing for such programs as "The Red Buttons Show" (CBS/NBC, 1952-55), "Caesar's Hour" (NBC, 1954-57) and "The Art Carney Show" (NBC, 1959). Having honed his chops among other top comedic talent like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Neil Simon, Gelbart broke away from television to write for the theater, penning the short-lived musical "The Conquering Hero" (1960) and the book for the stage musical, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962). After spending the rest of the decade writing various film, television and stage projects, Gelbart produced his first television series, "M*A*S*H" (CBS, 1972-1983), arguably the greatest sitcom of all time. Part situation comedy; part rumination on the tragic consequences of war, "M*A*S*H" became not only a long-running ratings winner, but an iconic American series that boasted the most-watched final episode in television history, while continuing to live on in syndication for decades to come. Gelbart went on to find success in the feature world, earning Oscar nominations for writing "Oh, God!" (1977) and "Tootsie" (1982). Though he maintained a successful and lucrative career, writing an adaptation of "Barbarians at the Gates" (HBO, 1993) and producing "Weapons of Mass Distraction" (HBO, 1997), Gelbart never again reached the creative heights of "M*A*S*H." But he remained throughout the decades one of the most influential comedy writers of all time.

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