Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Tribute: Larry Gelbart

posted by Nell Minow

Larry Gelbart, one of the most acclaimed and prodigiously productive writers of almost seven decades died this week at age 81. If you’ve laughed since the 1940’s, you almost certainly know his work. He got started as a teenager writing for Danny Thomas’ radio show and went on to work with Neil Simon, Woody Allen, and Mel Brooks on the legendary writing staff of the Sid Caesar show. He went on to co-create the television version of “M*A*S*H,” to co-write the script for “Tootsie,” and to write the Broadway hits “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (made into a movie with Zero Mostel) and “City of Angels” (now being adapted into a film).

And as this lovely tribute by Bob Elisberg notes, he was also a man of great principle and kindness.

There may have been more renowned writers in a single medium, but his versatility was breathtaking, and so he may have been the most successful and best writer ever in America who wrote in all three major media — the theater, movies and television.

Be sure to read Elisberg’s piece, especially the quote at the end from Gelbart about being a writer.

Here is Gelbart, talking about how television has changed society and how he’d like to be remembered.

Here is my favorite scene from “Tootsie” (second on the American Film Institute’s list of the hundred funniest American films of all time).

And here is the trailer for the hilarious “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

NPR’s Scott Simon also has a fine essay about Gelbart, describing him as “a great wit, who wrote with great heart.” It’s good to know that we still have another movie from him to look forward to.



  • Thom Hunter

    Nell,
    My wife made it through five pregnancies and breastfed five children while sitting up and watching M*A*S*H reruns. The series still ranks, I believe, as one of the best comedies, but most insightful series ever produced. He was indeed very much in touch with American culture and will be missed . . . though his work will not fade because it is so well done.
    Thom
    http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A wonderful comment, Thom. Comedy can be more insightful than drama, and Gelbart had as much heart and wisdom as wit. Thanks so much.

  • http://lastingtribute.blogspot.com/ Alex

    What a sad loss. We’ve created an online tribute page so fans can leave lasting memorials http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/gelbart/3148563

Previous Posts

List: YA Books About Coming Out and Same-Sex Relationships
My good friend Sandie is my go-to for YA literature as she is not only very knowledgeable but also very insightful, with superb taste. As a part of her series of books that explore issues of diversity, understanding, and identity, she has put together a list of the best YA books that explore LGBT i

posted 4:41:34pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street
Amazon Prime's new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy but mostly it has friendship. It's a perfect choice for

posted 3:58:21pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM
Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays "As

posted 8:00:36am Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Little Hope Was Arson
In a small East Texas community "with a church on every corner," 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film "Fireproof" one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself

posted 8:40:04pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Docudrama about Handel's Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014
BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Jane Seymo

posted 8:00:38am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.