Mickey Rose and Woody Allen met in an art class at Midwood High School more than 60 years ago, starting a lifelong friendship and collaboration that included some of Woody’s most hilarious films. Rose died over the weekend at the age of 77 from colon cancer, according to a report by The New York Times.
Rose, along with Allen, was one of America’s preeminent comedy writers. For years he wrote jokes for Johnny Carson during his Tonight Show run. Michael Barrie, who worked on Carson’s venerable talk show, which ran for 30 years from 1962 to 1992, said that Rose was “a comedy writer’s comedy writer.”
With Allen, Rose helped write “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (1966), “Take the Money and Run” (1969) and “Bananas” (1971); all early classics from the era when Allen wasn’t yet known for more cerebral films.
“Mickey was one of the funniest humans I know, a true original and a total eccentric and a wonderful first baseman,” said Allen this week, in a statement released by his biographer.
According to the Times, Rose and Allen remained lifelong friends:
Mr. Allen and Mr. Rose had talked on the phone as often as once a week, and when Mr. Allen visited Beverly Hills he often wandered over to Mr. Rose’s house and knocked on the door.
They conversed several times in the days before Mr. Rose’s death, Quincy Rose said. They talked about sports, old friends and, as the son recalled, an existential question, posed by Mr. Allen: “Are you scared?”
Rose is survived by his daughter Jennifer, son Quincy (named for the Bed-Stuy street he grew up on) and two grandchildren.