Carl Kleinschmitt, Writer on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 85

Carl Kleinschmitt, Writer on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 85
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Carl Kleinschmitt, a sitcom writer who worked on The Dick Van Dyke Show and M*A*S*H , and created two series starring Sandy Duncan as well as the football comedy 1st. He also created the series Ten ,. He was 85.

Kleinschmitt, a victim of MDS cancer (a blood condition) died Thursday night at his Los Angeles home at Atwater Village. A family spokesperson said The Hollywood Reporter

Kleinschmitt, who often wrote with the late Dale McRaven ,, penned episodes for other series such as ,Good Morning World The Doris Day Show That Girl Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. , The Courtship of Eddie’s Dad Love, American Style My World and Welcome to It Welcoming Back, Kotter and The Love Boat .

He also wrote two features: Middle Age Crazy (1980), starring Bruce Dern and Ann-Margret, and Kiss Shot (1989), starring Whoopi Goldberg.

In 1971, Kleinschmitt created the CBS sitcom Funny Face, loosely based on the 1957 Audrey Hepburn film musical of the same name, with Duncan starring as Sandy Stockton, a student teacher who acts and models on the side.

The show was highly touted but dismissed by critics and didn’t survive the year, lasting just 13 episodes. (Duncan was also diagnosed with a tumor in her left eye, which contributed to the show’s short run. )

Kleinschmitt returned to the comedy stage next fall with The Sandy Duncan Show , a retooled comedy that featured new supporting characters (including Tom Bosley), and which now featured Stockton as an employee of an advertising agency. Alas, that version lasted just 13 episodes, too.

He was much more successful with HBO’s 1st, and Ten ,, which starred O.J. Simpson, Reid Shelton, and Delta Burke. Simpson and ran for 80 episodes and six seasons from 1984-90.

Carl David Kleinschmitt was born in Los Angeles on Aug. 28, 1937. He was born in Atwater Village and graduated from John Marshall High School. He worked as a copywriter after he graduated from Occidental College.

In 1963, he met future Happy Days creator Garry Marshall, who introduced him to McRaven, another fledgling writer, and put the pair to work on the fourth and last season of NBC’s The Joey Bishop Show. By 1965, all three were writing for CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show.

McRaven and Kleinschmitt wrote nine episodes of the enduring comedy, which shared a WGA Award for their first effort, “Brooom, Bro-rooom,” where Rob (Van Dyke), buys a motorcycle.

Arnold Margolin, his first agent and lifelong friend, told him how Kleinschmitt always had to be in charge when working with McRaven. He said that Dale and Carl would sit side-by side at the typewriter, but Carl was allowed to type.

Without McRaven, Kleinschmitt received a WGA nomination for his work on the 1973 M*A*S*H episode “Sometimes You Hear the Bullet,” and he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1985 for outstanding children’s series for Pryor’s Place, starring Richard Pryor.

Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Los Angeles artist Pamela Burgess; daughter Kerry; grandchildren Devon and Dustin; and great-grandchildren Natalie and Sophia. Donations in his name may be made to the animal resource center Pasadena Humane.

Kleinschmidt, McRaven and Jerry Belson shared an office on Sunset Boulevard. Margolin and Jim Parker were also part of the writing team. They would meet up for lunch every five years and take a picture in front of their old digs.

Margolin, the last remaining member of the group, stated that “we were a zany, but productive group who quickly became famous as ‘The Sunset Six’.” “Between us six writers, we created at most a dozen primetime comedy shows, and, just as important, remained close friends until the end. Five of us were always competing for the title of class clown. Carl, however, was the mature member of the group and had to figure out what each one owed for lunch .

Carl Kleinschmitt

Clockwise from bottom left: Jim Parker, Dale McRaven, Jerry Belson, Garry Marshall, Carl Kleinschmitt and Arnold Margolin in 1965.

Courtesy Garry Marshall Archive & Legacy

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