August 13, 2012

Dee Caruso, Writer for Get Smart, Smothers Brothers, More

Caruso was one of the busiest comedy writers in the business from the ’60s through the ’80s.

Julia Waldow

Dee Caruso, a writer for shows including Get Smart, The Monkees and The Smothers Brothers Show, died of pneumonia on May 27, 2012, at his home in Brentwood, California. He was 83.

Caruso first wrote for nightclub comedians such as Don Adams and Martin & Rossi. He and his writing partner, Gerald Gardner, became head writers for Get Smart and wrote 22 episodes of The Monkees. They were nominated for a Primetime Emmy for That Was The Week That Was in 1965.

Among other shows, Caruso and Gardner also wrote for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Bill Cosby Show, Happy Days, What’s Happening!! and Gilligan’s Island and produced The Red Skelton Hour.

Additionally, the pair wrote specials for Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Debbie Reynolds, Robin Williams and Bill Cosby.

Caruso co-wrote feature films including Which Way to the Front (1970), The World’s Greatest Athlete (1973) and Doin’ Time (1985). He and Gardner teamed up for television movies, including Break Up (1973) and How to Break Up a Happy Divorce (1976).

Caruso and his wife, Sandra, taught What’s Funny, What’s Not at UCLA Extension for 10 years. Later, Caruso taught screenwriting for 20 years at the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra Caruso.

Services were held June 3, 2012 at Pierce Brothers Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

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