Larry Gelbart

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Larry Simon Gelbart (February 25, 1928 – September 11, 2009)[1] was an American television writer, playwright, screenwriter and author.



Early life

Gelbart was born in Chicago to Jewish immigrants Harry Gelbart ("a barber since his half of a childhood in Latvia")[2] and Frieda Sturner, who migrated to America from Dombrowa, Poland.


Gelbart began as a writer at the age of sixteen for Danny Thomas' radio show during the 1940s and also wrote for Jack Paar and Bob Hope. In the 1950s, his most important work in television involved writing for Red Buttons, Sid Caesar on Caesar's Hour, in Celeste Holm's Honestly, Celeste!, as well as with writers Mel Tolkin, Michael Stewart, Selma Diamond, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and (on two Caesar specials) Woody Allen.[3]

In 1972, Gelbart was one of the main forces behind the creation of the television series M*A*S*H, writing the pilot (for which he received a "Developed for Television by..." credit) and then producing, often writing and occasionally directing the series for its first four seasons (1972–1976). M*A*S*H earned Gelbart a Peabody Award and an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and went on to considerable commercial and critical success.


Gelbart's best known screen work is perhaps the screenplay for 1982's Tootsie, which he co-wrote with Murray Schisgal. He was nominated for an Academy Award for that script, and also was Oscar-nominated for his original screenplay for 1977's Oh, God! starring George Burns.

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