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Stan Burns, 79; Comedy Writer for Top 1950s-'70s Variety Shows

November 08, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Stan Burns, 79, an Emmy-winning comedy writer for the top variety shows of the 1950s through the '70s -- including "The Steve Allen Show," "The Flip Wilson Show," "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" and "The Carol Burnett Show" -- died Tuesday of heart failure at the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills.

As a member of the Burnett show writing staff, Burns won a 1971-72 Emmy for outstanding writing achievement in variety or music programs.

In New York in the 1950s, he wrote for "Broadway Open House," starring Jerry Lester; the original "Tonight Show," starring Steve Allen; and "The Steve Allen Show."

He teamed with his longtime writing partner, Mike Marmer, in the early '60s to work on variety shows and sitcoms, including "Get Smart," "F-Troop" and "Gilligan's Island." Burns and Marmer, who died earlier this year, worked together through the 1970s on various shows, including "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts."

Burns and Marmer created, produced and wrote the Saturday morning children's show "Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp," which ran on ABC from 1970 to 1972. The show has been described as " 'Get Smart' with fur and psychedelic music."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Burns joined the Marines after graduating from high school and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He broke into comedy writing after the war, first on radio.

He co-wrote, with Mel Weinstein, "The Book of Jewish World Records," a parody of the Guinness Book of Records, published in 1978. He also co-wrote the 1981 movie "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen."

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