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...

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