Larry Gelbart Larry Gelbart

Larry Gelbart, the writer who made M*A*S*H a TV hit, died Friday in his Beverly Hills home, after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

In 1971, TV execs approached Gelbart about adapting Robert Altman's M*A*S*H for the small screen. The show ran for 11 seasons and picked up countless awards, including the Best Comedy Series Emmy for its debut season.

Gelbart also received Oscar nominations for his screenplays for the George Burns comedy Oh, God! (1977) and Tootsie (1982). Gelbart's other writing credits include Bedazzled (2000) and the HBO movies Barbarians at the Gate (1993), Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997) and And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself (2003).

Gelbart's memoir, Laughing Matters: On Writing M*A*S*H, Tootsie, Oh, God! and a Few Other Funny Things, was published in 1997.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Marshall, two children, two stepchildren, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.