Award-winning comedy writer Mike Marmer, remembered for his contributions to classic television comedies and variety shows, died Saturday Jan. 12 after a brief battle with cancer in Los Angeles. He was 76.
During his 50-year career, he was nominated for six Emmys, winning the award in 1972 for his work on “The Carol Burnett Show.” The Writers Guild of America also recognized his work with four awards and seven nominations; he also received a Sylvania Award.
A key figure in 1960s and ’70s variety shows such as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “The Dean Martin Show” and “The Flipp Wilson Show,” Marmer was also known for his 15 scripts for the comedy spy-series “Get Smart” as well as 31 for “The Love Boat.” Additionally, he scripted for “Three’s Company,” “F Troop,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Donna Reed” and “227.”
Shows and stars he worked worth during the golden age of early TV and into the latter decades included such seminal skeins and talent as those of Ernie Kovacs, Steve Allen, Jack Parr, Milton Berle, Redd Fox, and later on John Davidson, Mac Davis, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, Burns & Schreiber, Chevy Chase, Victor Borge and many more.
One of Marmer’s quirkiest creations was his 1970s children’s comedy “Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.” A collaboration between Marmer and Stan Burns, the Saturday morning special chronicled the adventures of chimpanzee super agent Lancelot Link and his sidekick Mata Hari. The making of the show was documented in the film “I Created Lance Link,” which was named a best docu at the New York Underground Film Festival in 1999.
The longtime member of the WGA and Mystery Writers of America also worked on numerous specials.
Born in Lowell, Mass., Marmer graduated from Suffolk University in 1950 after serving as a Marine in Okinawa during World War II.
He is survived by a son, daughter and sister.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marmer’s memory to the American Cancer Society or the Stepping Stones Youth Shelter on the Paiute Shoshone Indian Reservation. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Writers Guild Theater in L.A.