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Comedy writer Dee Caruso dies

Penned 'Get Smart,' 'The Monkees' episodes

Dee Caruso, a writer for TV shows including “Get Smart,” “The Monkees” and “The Smother Brothers Show,” died of pneumonia on Sunday, May 27, in Brentwood, Calif. He was 83.

Caruso began writing material for nightclub comedians such as Don Adams and Martin & Rossi. He and his writing partner, Gerald Gardner, were frequent writers on “Get Smart” and “The Monkees,” contributed to “The Smothers Brothers Show” and produced “The Red Skelton Hour.” They also penned specials for Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Debbie Reynolds, Robin Williams and Bill Cosby and scripted an unusual gameshow, “Screen Test,” which starred “Get Smart” leading man Adams.

Caruso and Gardner also wrote a few feature films, Disney’s “The World’s Greatest Athlete” and Warner Bros.’ “Which Way to the Front” and “Doin’ Time,” as well as telepics including “How to Break Up a Happy Divorce,” which they also produced, and “Break Up.”

They also penned episodes of “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” “The Bill Cosby Show,” “Happy Days” and “What’s Happening.”

Earlier, Caruso and Gardner were on the Emmy-nominated writing staff for “That Was the Week That Was” with David Frost.

Caruso co-taught a class with his wife, Sandra, “What’s Funny, What’s Not” at UCLA Extension for 10 years and after that became a professor of screenwriting at UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television for more than 20 years.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sandra Caruso.

Services will be held Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m. at Pierce Brothers Westwood Memorial Park, 1218 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles.

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