Irving Brecher

Even as a teenager working at a Manhattan theater, Irving Brecher, who died Nov. 17 at 94, peddled his comedy writing to anyone who would have it. The Bronx, N.Y., native sent one-liners to columnists Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan, some of which would occasionally make it into print.

Possibly his most important pitch, though, was one that he and a fellow comedy writer submitted to Variety, offering gag-writing services "so bad not even [Milton] Berle will steal them." But not only did Berle eventually pay $50 for a page of their jokes, but he continued to buy Brecher's gags, in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!