Henry Garson

Writer, former song-and-dance man

Henry Garson, longtime comedy writer and former song-and-dance man, 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 formed the California Collegians song-and-dance group, performing at the Lyric in Manhattan. Later he was cast in “20 Million Frenchmen,” which played at the Lyceum. 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 “comedy” dance routines that requiring 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 WGA award.

His 1952 Broadway play “In Any Language,” starring Uta Hagen and featuring Walter Matthau (his first Broadway part) and Eileen Heckart, was directed by George Abbott and produced by Abbott and Jule Stein.

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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