Gene Perret, known for his comedy writing on Three’s Company and The Carol Burnett Show, has died. The writer, aged 85, reportedly passed away due to liver failure on November 15th at his home in Westlake Village. By all accounts, Perret will be leaving behind a lasting legacy of humor that stretches back decades, including a longtime partnership with Bob Hope.
In 1956, nineteen-year-old Gene Perret, who was working as an engineer at the time, would get his introduction into the world of comedy after making his boss laugh at a company party and being hired by Slappy White and Phyllis Diller, who was considered stand-up comedy royalty at the time.
In 1969, Gene Perret would officially quit his job as an engineer, stating that becoming a comedian was a “natural progression,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. After moving to LA, the writer picked up a few odd jobs as a comedy writer for shows like The Jim Nabors Hour before being hired by actress and comedian Carol Burnett in 1973 for The Carol Burnett Show on CBS. Gene would stay with the show until the end of its run in 1978 and, over those five years, be nominated for six Emmy Awards, winning in 1974, 1975, and 1978, according to Deadline.
Gene Perret After Carol Burnett: Working With Bob Hope & Studio C
After his run on The Carol Burnett Show was over, Gene Perret would go on to further cement his legacy as a comedian by writing for popular sitcoms like Welcome Back, Kotter (1978), and Three’s Company (1979). Between 1980 and 1981, Gene would be briefly reunited with Carol Burnett for a handful of episodes on The Tim Conway Show before going back to television writing with Gimme a Break! and The Shape of Things in 1982.
1984 would see Gene Perret partner with comedian Bob Hope for Bob Hope’s USO Christmas in Beiruit, the beginning of a relationship between Hope and Perret that would last 28 years and at least 36 TV movies and comedy specials, including Bob Hope’s Jolly Christmas Show (1988) and Bob Hope Present the Ladies of Laughter (1992). In 1993, Gene Perret would also supervise the writing of Bob Hope: The First 90 Years, a TV documentary made about the comedian’s life.
Most recently, Gene Perret could be found as a writing consultant for the popular comedy brand Studio C in 2014. The Hollywood Reporter has stated that he is survived by Joanne, his wife of 64 years, their children Joe, Terry, Carole, and Linda, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.