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Leonard B. Stern, the co-inventor of the low-brow party word game, Mad Libs, died at 87 in Beverly Hills on this date in 2011. Stern was a television writer for Get Smart, The Honeymooners, The Phil Silvers Show, and The Steve Allen Show, and also wrote a couple of Abbott and Costello movies. More than 110 million copies and seventy editions of Mad Libs have sold since it was launched in 1958, and Stern’s publishing house, Price Stern Sloan (which also published the How To Be a Jewish Mother series), became one of the largest in the U.S.
“I was writing for The Honeymooners and Roger [Price] was at the house. I was doing a polish on a script and I said, ‘I need an adjective. And Roger said, ‘Naked!’ ... Out of this came this word game where somebody asked you for an adjective or noun and parts of speech.” —Leonard B. Stern