Leonard Stern, Get Smart producer, dies at 88

Leonard Stern, the producer of Get Smart and a long-time writer and producer of other shows, passed away this week at the age of 88. Besides Get Smart, his credits were varied and included The Jackie Gleason Show, The Honeymooners, and McMillan & Wife. Even his short-lived shows, such as I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster and He & She, have a devoted following.

Because of our subject matter, though, we’re concentrating on his contributions to Get Smart. As executive producer, he helped turn the pilot script by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry into a successful series. That wasn’t easy, as Stern described in this interview; the script had to be redone to tailor it to Don Adams (under contract to NBC) after the show was originally envisioned for Tom Poston:

During the show’s run, Stern collaborated on a script with Buck Henry that earned both men an Emmy. The 1967 Emmys turned out to be a big night for TV spy shows, with Mission: Impossible creator Bruce Geller and co-star Barbara Bain also getting Emmys. You can Stern and Henry get theirs (presented by Bain and M:I’s Martin Landau), starting around the 2:40 mark of this video:

RIP, Mr. Stern. CLICK HERE TO READ THE WASHINGTON POST’S OBITUARY. Meanwhile you can READ THE WRAP’S OBITUARY BY CLICKING HERE (which gives Stern’s age as 87).

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