Gene Perret, Emmy-Winning Writer on ‘The Carol Burnett Show,’ Dead at 85

Gene Perret

Obituary Gene Perret

Gene Perret, Emmy-winning author and legendary joke author, has died. He was 85.

His daughter Linda Perret instructed The Hollywood Reporter that he died on Nov. 15 of liver failure at his dwelling in Westlake Village.

Over the course of his five-decade profession, the skilled comedy author wrote for The Carol Burnett Show — for which he won three Emmys for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series — in addition to hit exhibits All in the Family; Welcome Back, Kotter; and Three’s Company, amongst others.

According to the late comic’s web site, he wrote jokes for Phyllis Diller, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, Tim Conway, and plenty of others. Perret wrote for Hope from 1969 till the legendary performer retired, serving as head author throughout Hope’s final 15 years performing.

RELATED: Tim Conway, Star of The Carol Burnett Show, Dies at 85

Perret, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote greater than 45 books on comedy and contributed to many publications together with Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Toastmaster and Arizona Highways.

In an interview with The Writer journal in 2016, Perret was requested how he is aware of something is funny on the page.

“You really don’t,” he answered truthfully. “Comedy writers depend on a sense of humor and experience to determine what’s funny. But basically we’re only guessing. Many times a joke that you love is rejected by the client or the rest of the writing staff. Writers must go with their instincts, but ultimately it’s the audience that determines what’s funny.”

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 1: Pictured from left is Rock Hudson, Carol Burnett, Ken Berry and Frank Gorshen for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, 1971, (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES – JANUARY 1: Pictured from left is Rock Hudson, Carol Burnett, Ken Berry and Frank Gorshen for THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, 1971, (Photo by CBS by way of Getty Images)


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When requested how he realized to be humorous, Perret referenced these he regarded as much as. “Just as youngsters learn to play sports by watching their idols, comedians and writers learn to be funny by imitating their idols,” he defined.

“Bob Hope admits that he copied the style of vaudevillian Frank Fay. Woody Allen has stated that he used the screen persona of Bob Hope in his films. Johnny Carson was reminiscent of Jack Benny and proud of it. I always enjoyed comedy, so I began being funny. It was practically unavoidable,” Perret mentioned.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Perret is survived by his spouse of 64 years, Joanne, and youngsters Joe, Terry, Carole and Linda — a fellow comedy author — in addition to six grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

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