Allan Burns, co-creator of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, dies at 85
Allan Burns, the co-creator of shows like The Munsters and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died Saturday at age 85.
His close collaborator James L. Brooks (The Simpsons), with whom he created Mary Tyler Moore, announced Burns' death on Twitter.
"Alan Burns, my writing partner during the Mary Tyler Moore days, died yesterday," Brooks wrote on Sunday. "His singular writing career brought him every conceivable recognition. But, you had to know him to appreciate his full rarity. He was simply the finest man I have every known. A beauty of a human."
Ed Asner, who starred on the sitcom and its third spinoff, Lou Grant, also paid tribute to Burns.
"I am so sad at the passing of the Allan Burns. A mensch like no other, a friend and so incredibly talented. Say hello to the gang Allan," Asner wrote.
Born in Baltimore in 1935, Burns studied architecture at the University of Oregon for two years before leaving for Los Angeles to become a page at NBC. He began his TV career working on Jay Ward Productions' animated programs like The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and George of the Jungle. He also created the Cap'n Crunch character for Quaker Oats.
Burns developed a partnership with writer Chris Hayward and together they created The Munsters and My Mother the Car. The duo won an Emmy in 1968 as story editors of the sitcom He & She.
Later, he began collaborating with Room 222 creator Brooks, and the two were hired by a television exec to develop a show for CBS featuring Mary Tyler Moore. Thus emerged The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970, which became a ratings and critical hit. It ran for seven seasons and led to three spinoffs: Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant. Burns' work on the series garnered him five Emmys, including for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row.
While most recognized for his TV work, Burns also penned scripts for the silver screen, and scored an Oscar nod for co-writing the 1979 film A Little Romance. He wrote the screenplays for Butch and Sundance: The Early Days and Just the Way You Are, and he reunited with Moore for 1986's Just Between Friends, which he wrote, produced, and directed.
Burns married Joan Bailey in 1964 and they had two sons together.