Larry Gelbart Dies at 81

Larry Gelbart Dies at 81 Larry Gelbart, the award-winning comedy writer best known for the historical development of the television series "MASH" co-written the book for the Thing successful Broadway musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum" and co-writing the classic film "comedy Tootsie ", died this morning. He was 81 years.

Gelbart was born on 25 February 1928 in Chicago, but his family moved to Beverly Hills. Cool and very clever, since an early age, Gelbart was the son of a barber, who often praised his son for his clients, including Danny Thomas.

"Larry Gelbart was one of the best comedy writers ever produced in America," said Mel Brooks, whose friendship with date when Gelbart wrote for Sid Caesar's comedy variety show "Caesar's Hour" in the 1950s. Gelbart "had class, he had wit, she had style and grace. It was a wonderful writer who could do more with words than anyone I've ever met," says Brooks.

His wife of 53 years, Pat Gelbart, told The Associated Press Friday that after being married for a long time, "we are finished with the other sentences." She declined to specify what type of cancer he had.

"It was a surprise. I had cancer, we have known. We did not know what would be the outcome, the result, whatever. And here we are, and we kind of prepared for this," he said. "It is enough to be able to be clever and move on."

Gelbart, who won a Tony for "A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum", an Emmy Award for "MASH" and was nominated for two Oscars, it is most likely remembered for the television program on long-term Army doctors in the Korean War.

Carl Reiner, his old friend and colleague, Gelbart called "Jonathan Swift of our time."

"It is a great, great, great, great, great, great loss. You can not put enough" big "in front of her," says Reiner, who directed "Oh, God!" Gelbart Oscar-nominate screen play. "Customs in our time has never been more dissected and discussed. I had the ability to conduct a thorough joke as nothing more than a line."

"MASH", debuted on CBS in 1972, when the nation was still embroiled in the Vietnam War, and some viewers were initially confused or offended by his description of the cynical, wisecracking that doctor worked frantically to save the lives of soldiers.

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