Larry Gelbart

As co-creator of the hit TV series M*A*S*H, Larry Gelbart, who died Sept. 11 at 81, perfected the careful art of blending drama and satire. In M*A*S*H, he managed to humanize soldiers even as he illustrated the absurdity of war. His knack for imbuing punch lines with social commentary earned him Emmy and Tony awards as well as the accolades of legends like Bob Hope, Mel Brooks and Sid Caesar. Gelbart began his career at 16 after his father, a Hollywood barber, bragged to entertainer Danny Thomas about his son's gift for gags. After reading one batch of jokes, Thomas hired...

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