Page last updated at 06:14 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 07:14 UK

M*A*S*H writer Gelbart dies at 81

Larry Gelbart in 2008
Larry Gelbart won two Emmy awards and was nominated for two Oscars

The award-winning US television, film and theatre writer Larry Gelbart, who is best remembered for the M*A*S*H TV comedy series, has died at 81.

Mr Gelbart died at his California home after a battle with cancer.

M*A*S*H - about army doctors during the Korean War - began in 1972 and won Mr Gelbart an Emmy award.

He also won a Tony award for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and was twice nominated for an Oscar, including for the film Tootsie.

Mr Gelbart was brought in to develop the TV version of M*A*S*H, which had been filmed for the big screen by Robert Altman in 1970.

Mr Gelbart wrote 97 shows over four seasons before leaving. The comedy show went on until 1983 as one of the most successful on US television.

Early in his writing career, Mr Gelbart wrote jokes for stars including Bob Hope and Red Buttons, and worked on Sid Caesar's show Caesar's Hour.

In 1962 he co-wrote the Ancient Rome-based hit Broadway show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

His Oscar nominations were for the Dustin Hoffman movie Tootsie and Oh, God!, starring George Burns.

Mr Gelbart also won another Emmy for the Wall St-based film Barbarians at the Gate.

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