Comedy writer Sheldon Keller dies at 85

Updated: Sep 03, 2008, 00:41 AM IST

Los Angeles, Sept 02: Sheldon Keller, a writer who collaborated with Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner on the 1950s sketch comedy show "Caesar`s Hour" and wrote variety shows for Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren and other
stars, has died. He was 85.

Keller died yesterday of complications from Alzheimer`s disease, his son Casey said. A son of Polish immigrants, Keller moved from Chicago to New York in the early 1950s to pursue a career in comedy. He found success in 1955 when he joined the renowned writing staff that worked on Sid Caesar`s television show, a spinoff of the popular program "Your Show of Shows."

Keller was the inspiration for the character Milton in the Broadway play "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," based on Simon`s time working on the shows, his son said.

He also wrote variety shows for such stars as Sinatra, Loren, Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye and Dinah Shore. He won an Emmy for a show he wrote for Carol Channing.

Keller also had a successful career as a composer and songwriter and performed in a jazz band with actors George Segal and Conrad Janis.