Larry Gelbart is one of the finest writers in the world; from Your Show of Shows, to MASH, Sly Fox, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Tootsie and so many more. For for a brief period of time in the late 70's, I had the privilege of working for him.
It's also hard to write about a writer of Larry's stature without feeling absolutely unworthy. So, let me just tell you one of favorite stories about Larry.
I was working for his personal manager, Howard Rothberg. Howard worked out of his house high in the Hollywood Hills above Sunset, with a view of LA from downtown to the ocean. I was in the big time, and learned more about the industry my first day in that office than I learned the entire previous year.
The client list was a who's who of Hollywood; Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Larry Gelbart, and Dom DeLuise. It was funny and fun...but also very intense.
I was sitting in the office, and a messenger came by from Warner Brothers. It was his participation (profit) check from 'Oh God'. Although I had seen big checks before, I had never seen that much money on one check . I called Larry and his wife Pat answered and wanted me to run the check over to his house ASAP. Ten minutes later I was knocking at the door and gave Pat the check.
The next day Larry called and (like an idiot) I asked him "So, what did you do with the check?" He paused a minute, and I could see him through the phone as a little smile came over his face and he said...
" I put it under my pillow," he said, "to see if the Movie Tooth Fairy would bring me another one!"
Enjoy this interview from 1998.