Larry L. King, who wrote ‘Best Little Whorehouse,’ dies

Texas scribe also co-wrote successful film adaptation of musical

Larry L. King, who with Peter Masterson penned the hit Broadway musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and co-wrote the 1982 film adaptation starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, died Thursday in Washington, D.C. He was 83.

On Broadway, “Whorehouse,” which follows the colorful characters at an improbably wholesome brothel outside Gilbert, Texas, was nominated for the best musical Tony in 1979. The film version was nominated for a Golden Globe for best musical or comedy.

Produced by Universal Pictures, “Whorehouse” opened on Broadway in 1978 and ran for 1,584 performances, then returned in 1982. King played the TV announcer in the show and was a replacement in the role of Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd.

The musical also played London’s West End, and a production starring Ann-Margret toured the U.S. in 2001. A benefit concert performance of the show was held in New York in 2006.

A sequel, “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public,” also written by King and Masterson, was a flop in 1994.

Universal began development on a remake of the “Whorehouse” film in 2010.

King was also a novelist and journalist who was among the group of writers at Harper’s magazine that included David Halberstam and Norman Mailer.He wrote a 1974 article for Playboy magazine about the shuttering of the Chicken Ranch brothel; Masteron, a Broadway actor read it and teamed with King and composer Carol Hall on the musical.

King was born in Putnam, Texas, served in the Army Signal Corps from 1946-48, then briefly attended what became Texas Tech U.

He worked as a political aide to a Texas congressman on Capitol Hill for a decade but eventually moved to New York to focus on writing.

King is survived by third wife Barbara Blaine; three children from his first marriage; and two from his second marriage.