Larry Gelbart, who created the classic TV adaptation of Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H" (1972-83) and whose talented comedy writing stretched from the days of radio to cutting-edge cable shows, has died.
Gelbart was principal writer on "M*A*S*H" the first four years of the hit series. Gelbart was responsible for 97 segments of the show. He also directed some early episodes.
Beginning as a gag writer in days of radio and honing his comic craft for such talents as Jack Carson and Bob Hope. Gelbart was a versatile stylist who wrote in all mass-medias forms, including the stage.
He won three Emmys, three Tonys and the 1981 Laurel Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Television Writing from the Writers Guild of America. Gelbart won an Emmy with co-producer Gene Reynolds for "M*A*S*H" as well as three WGA Awards for the episodes he wrote.
Gelbart was nominated for two Oscars: for his screenplay of "Oh, God!," starring George Burns (1977) and another for "Tootsie," which he co-scripted and which starred Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange. He won the WGA Award for those screenplays, and also the Writers Guild honor for his screenplay of "Movie Movie" (1978). For "Tootsie," Gelbart also garnered screenwriting honors from the Los Angels Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Other screenwriting credits include, "Neighbors," "Not With My Wife, You Don't" and "Blame It on Rio." He had his named removed from the screwball comedy "Rough Cut," starring Burt Reynolds. He fought other battles over script changes and credits, including "Tootsie," for which he garnered the credit "official writer."