Leonard Stern

Leonard Stern, a producer, writer and director who helped create The Honeymooners and Mad Libs, died Tuesday of heart failure, Variety reports. He was 88 years old.

A New York native, Stern got his start in Hollywood in the '50s writing film screenplays, including Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, The Jazz Singer and the Jack Lemmon film Three for the Show. His career shifted to TV, and he began writing for The Jackie Gleason Show.

Stern went on to help Gleason create The Honeymooners in 1955 and wrote 14 episodes for the classic sitcom. He created three more series: I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster, He & She and The Governor and J.J.

 Remember other celebrities we lost this year

He later served as head writer on The Steven Allen Show and executive producer and writer on the spy comedy Get Smart. Stern also worked on drama series, executive-producing McMillan and Wife, and working on The Snoop Sisters and Lanigan's Rabbi.

Over the span of his career, Stern was nominated for five Emmys and took home two trophies. In 1957, he won — along with the rest of The Phil Silvers Show writing staff — the award for Best Comedy Writing on a variety or situation comedy. He won again in 1967 for Best Writing in a comedy for Get Smart.

 Catch up on today's latest news

In addition to his prolific TV career, Stern co-wrote A Martian Wouldn't Say That!, a collection of actual memos and notes from television executives that comedian Jay Leno frequently references on The Tonight Show. He also co-created the wildly popular fill-in-the-part-of-speech word game Mad Libs with Roger Price.

Most recently, Stern had a small role playing a pilot in the 2008 Get Smart film starring Steve Carell as the titular bumbling spy.

Stern is survived by his wife, actress Gloria Stroock, a son and a daughter, two grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.