Writer Richard Baer dies at 79

Scribe wrote for more than 56 TV shows

Emmy-nommed writer Richard Baer, who wrote for TV shows including “Leave It To Beaver,” “Bewitched,” “The Munsters,” “Barney Miller” and “MASH,” died Feb. 22 in Santa Monica, Calif. after suffering a heart attack in January. He was 79.

Born in New York, Baer graduated Yale and USC. He began his TV career on “The Life of Riley,” starting as an assistant and then writing several episodes. In 1958, he wrote the film “Life Begins at 17” for Columbia Pictures.

In 1960, he started working on the skein “Hennessey” starring Jackie Cooper, winning an Emmy nomination and writing 38 episodes.

Over the next 25 years, he wrote for more than 56 shows, including “F Troop,” “Petticoat Junction” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” Baer wrote 23 episodes of “Bewitched” and 10 for “That Girl.”

Among the five episodes Baer wrote for the “The Munsters” was the well-known “Just Another Pretty Face,” in which actor Fred Gwynne is hit by lightening and and his face changes to his normal face, but his family is aghast by how “ugly” Herman now looks.

Baer also wrote the 1972 ABC TV movie “Playmates” starring Alan Alda, as well as “I Take These Men” for CBS in 1983. He was active in the Writers Guild of America, and served on the negotiating committee during the 1988 strike.

In 1987, his romantic comedy play “Mixed Emotions,” about two widowed friends who in later life begin their own relationship, opened in Los Angeles and played on Broadway and in many other cities around the world.

Baer is survived by his wife Diane Asselin Baer, a producer; sons Josh and Matthew, a film producer; daughter Judy and three grandchildren.

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