Leonard Stern dead Mad Libs | EW.com

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Leonard Stern, Mad Libs creator and TV writer, dies at 88

Leonard Stern, an [adjective] writer best known for writing [number] episodes of classic TV shows like “The Honeymooners” and “Get Smart,” [verb ending in “ing] [adverb ending in “ly”], and creating the fill-in-the-blanks party game Mad Libs along with partner Roger Price, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 88. Stern got his start in show business at the tender age of 16, when he began writing jokes for Milton Berle. He and Price came up with the idea for their popular game in 1953, according to The L.A. Times.

At the time, Stern was working on a “Honeymooners” script and struggling to come up with the best word to describe how Ralph Kramden’s new boss’s nose looked. “I asked Roger for an idea for an adjective, and before I could tell him what it was describing, he threw out ‘clumsy’ and ‘naked.’ We both started laughing,” Stern told Publishers Weekly in 2008. “We sat down and wrote a bunch of stories with blanks in them. That night we took them to a cocktail party and they were a great success.” The pair would go on to self-publish the first Mad Libs in 1958. Today, more than 110 million copies of various volumes of the game have been sold.

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