Henry Garson

Comedy writer and performer

Henry Garson, longtime comedy writer and performer, died May 29 at the Motion Picture & Television Home in Woodland Hills. He was 91.

Gotham native was the son of a Ziegeld Follies dancer. By the time he was 15, he had co-formed the California Collegians musical group, performing in Manhattan. Later he was cast in “50 Million Frenchmen,” which played at the Lyric. A casting in “Temptations of 1930” landed him in California, where he met and married Bernice O’Neal, whose father did the bookings for the Pantages theaters.

Tired of comedic dance routines that required him to fall a lot, he decided to write comedy instead, starting with seven years for radio’s “Junior Miss.” This led to TV, eventually writing and in some cases producing for numerous skeins. Credits include “Make Room for Daddy,” “Family Affair,” “McHale’s Navy,” “My Three Sons,” “Columbo” and so on.

Film credits include Elvis Presley starrer “G.I. Blues,” Jerry Lewis starrers “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and “Visit to a Small Planet,” and James Mason headliner “Reckless Moment.” He was also nommed for a WGA award.

He co-wrote with Edmund Beloin 1952’s Broadway play “In Any Language,” starring Uta Hagen and featuring Walter Matthau (his first Broadway part) and Eileen Heckart, and which was directed by George Abbott and produced by Abbott and Jule Styne.

He is survived by daughter Liza Garson.

Memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday June 14 at the John Ford Chapel of the Motion Picture & Television Home in Woodland Hills. Donations are suggested for the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

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