Entertainment & Arts

Gene Reynolds: Tributes paid to Mash and Lou Grant co-creator

Gene Reynolds in 2009 and Mash stars Alan Alda, Mike Farrell and Harry Morgan in 1975 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Reynolds (left) worked on Mash with such actors as Alan Alda, Mike Farrell and Harry Morgan

Gene Reynolds, a former president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) who co-created such classic TV shows as Mash and Lou Grant, has died aged 96.

The director and producer worked with Larry Gelbart to create the TV version of Mash - often stylised as M*A*S*H.

He won three Emmys for the show and another two for Lou Grant before serving two terms as DGA president.

"Good night old friend," tweeted Lou Grant star Ed Asner. "I was blessed to know you. Thank you for everything."

Alan Alda, star of Mash, described Reynolds as a "friend and mentor" who had "touched the lives of tens of millions".

Loretta Swit, who played Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the show, responded to the news of his death with a broken heart emoji.

Thomas Schlamme, the DGA's current president, remembered Reynolds as being "passionate... spirited in his beliefs and dedicated until the end".

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1923, Eugene Reynolds Blumenthal started out as a film extra before landing roles in Captains Courageous and the Andy Hardy films.

After serving in the navy during World War Two, he became a director on such 1960s TV shows as My Three Sons, Leave It to Beaver and Hogan's Heroes.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The producer reunited with Ed Asner (far right) and other members of the Lou Grant team in 2007

Tasked with developing a TV version of Robert Altman's 1970 film Mash, he was instrumental in recruiting writer Larry Gelbart and star Alan Alda.

The series, which followed the fortunes of a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War, ran for 11 seasons.

Reynolds left Mash in 1977 to co-create Lou Grant, a spin-off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show about a Los Angeles newspaper editor.

His later credits included Blossom, a comedy about a teenage girl played by future Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story