According to the Hollywood Reporter, Gene Perret unfortunately passed away due to liver failure this past Tuesday in his Westlake Village home, he was 85. Perret was best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show which earned him three Primetime Emmy awards. He is also known for his work penning jokes for Bob Hope (the Road to… franchise, The Lemon Drop Kid) over the course of nearly three decades.
Perret was a South-Philadelphia native whose career spanned over fifty years and included writing for such highly regarded television programs as All in the Family, Welcome Back, Kotter, Three’s Company, Love, American Style, Gimme a Break!, What’s Happening!!, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, and CPO Sharkey. Perret started in engineering but caught an early break in the entertainment industry after sending jokes to famed comedians Slappy White and Phyllis Diller, who subsequently hired him before encouraging him to pursue comedy as a full-time career.
As written by the Hollywood Reporter, Perret was an analytical expert at comedy, a legacy which vaulted him to Burnett’s show in 1973, where he served as a staff writer on her iconic CBS show for its last five seasons and garnered three accolades in 1974, ’75, and ’78; he was also nominated three other times. Perret eventually began collaborating with Hope, writing for his television specials and USO Christmas tours. He eventually began accompanying Hope on many trips around the world where the celebrated comedian would entertain thousands of troops before his retirement in the ’90s.
Perret was also the author to over forty different books on comedy writing, including the critically acclaimed Comedy Writing Step by Step and The Comedy Writing Workbook. He hosted countless workshops for young writers and comedians over the course of his fifty year career.
Perret is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Joanne Perret, his children Joe, Terry, Carole, and Linda, as well as his six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. It’s safe to say he will certainly be missed.