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R.I.P. Larry Gelbart (Feb. 25, 1928 to Sept. 11, 2009)

Larry Gelbart (3rd from right) with cast members of M*A*S*H at this year's TV Land awards. He also wrote for Sid Caesar's legendary Your Show of Shows during a 65-year career in TV/film/radio.

Larry Gelbart, an all-time great TV writer whose masterwork was M*A*S*H, died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 81.

Gelbart's TV credits also include Sid Caesar's renowned Your Show of Shows and two acclaimed HBO movies, Barbarians at the Gate and Weapons of Mass Distraction. For the big screen he wrote Tootsie, Oh, God! and Blame It On Rio. And for the stage he penned A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in partnership with Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove.

Gelbart broke into show business as a 16-year-old, writing for the Danny Thomas radio show. In his last major honor, he was inducted last year into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. It was long, long overdue.