'M*A*S*H' TV writer Gelbart dead at age 81

Sept. 12, 2009 at 2:51 PM

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Writer Larry Gelbart, whose works included episodes of the TV series "M*A*S*H," has died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 81, his wife Pat says.

The New York Times reported Saturday that in addition to his work on the long-running Korean War comedy series, Gelbart wrote for Broadway musicals and films such as "Tootsie."

Gelbart said in 1983 the four years he was connected to "M*A*S*H" was particularly special given the show's focus on comedy amid the grim world of warfare.

"I am convinced," Gelbart wrote in the Times, "that we achieved a creative freedom unheard of in the medium before or since."

Among Gelbart's Broadway works were "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Shy Fox." His film efforts include "Oh God!" and 1962's "The Notorious Landlady."

The Times said Gelbart, who died of cancer Friday, also is survived by two children, two stepchildren, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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