Friday, September 11, 2009

Larry Gelbart, RIP

On Thursday night I was having a conversation with friends on how amazing it is that TV's MASH remains as witty and intelligent today as it did when it first premiered in 1972. This morning I learned that Larry Gelbart, the man largely responsible for imbuing MASH with its comedic soul had passed away after a battle with cancer.

Of course, Gelbart's filmography goes wider and deeper than chronicling the TV misadventures of "Hawkeye" Pierce and "Trapper" John, including the Oh, God films and cross-dressing comedy Tootsie. Still, those first four years that Gelbart served as MASH's exec producer and head writer were so key in laying down the razor thin balance between comedy and pathos that it kept the show plugging along for seven more years after he himself had moved on.

In his latter years Gelbart, always the unabashed liberal, had taken to posting his insightful commentaries on the Huffington Post, which I was always glad to see and which I'm saddened to know are no longer forthcoming. The world has truly lost one of its great and wise wordsmiths with his passing.

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