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Mad Libs Co-Creator Leonard Stern Dies at 88

honeymoonerscast

The cast of "The Honeymooners", a show written by Leonard Stern, from left to right: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph. (AP)

Leonard Stern, a prolific writer-producer-director whose credits include "The Honeymooners," "Get Smart," and "McMillan and Wife," died Tuesday. He was 88.

Stern died of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his spokesman, Dale Olson.

A native of New York City, Stern found early success in TV writing for Jackie Gleason in "The Honeymooners" as well as the classic 1950s sitcom "The Phil Silvers Show" and "The Steve Allen Show."

In the 1960s he produced the spy satire "Get Smart," and in the 1970s wrote, directed and produced "McMillan and Wife," the lighthearted crime drama starring Rock Hudson.

Film credits included screenplays for the 1952 version of "The Jazz Singer" starring Danny Thomas, as well as a pair of Abbott and Costello comedies. Three decades later, he wrote and directed "Just You and Me, Kid," starring George Burns and 14-year-old Brooke Shields. In 1985, he wrote the script for the action-thriller "Target," starring Gene Hackman and directed by Arthur Penn.

Stern was also involved in publishing, including the word game Mad Libs, which he co-created.

During his career he won three Emmy awards, two Golden Globes and a Peabody award.

Stern is survived by his wife of 55 years, actress Gloria Stroock, as well as a son, Michael Stern, a daughter, Kate Stern, two grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Funeral services were scheduled Friday at Mt. Sinai.

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