Other notable deaths

November 29, 2007

MEL TOLKIN, 94 Comedy writer

Mel Tolkin, the head writer for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, which defined the art of sketch comedy during early television, died Monday of heart failure at his Century City home, said his son, writer-director Michael Tolkin.

Mr. Tolkin spent nearly a half-century in show business, beginning in the 1930s when he wrote revues and played piano in Montreal jazz clubs. He wrote comedy for Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye and Danny Thomas, and in the 1970s was a writer and editor for All in the Family.

He also wrote the theme song for Your Show of Shows.

Mr. Tolkin received several Emmy nominations and shared an Emmy with several colleagues in 1967 for The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special.

He was born Samuel Tolchinsky in the Ukraine in 1913; the family moved to Montreal when he was in his teens. He studied accounting after high school but also wrote musical revues, using the name Mel Tolkin so his parents wouldn't know.

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