Mickey Rose Dies of Cancer, Diagnosed In January

Mickey Rose, who went on to become a television comedy writer, penning jokes and sketches for Johnny Carson, died Sunday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 77.

The cause was cancer, which was diagnosed in January, his daughter Jennifer said.

Born in Brooklyn on May 20, 1935, Michael Rose, known as Mickey, was the son of a single mother, Sylvia Subin. His father left the family before young Mickey was born.

Rose was childhood friends with Woody Allen, who was then known as Allan Konigsberg, grew up in different sections of Brooklyn but met in a high school art class. They immediately hit it off, according to Allen’s biographer Eric Lax, and became frequent hooky partners, skipping school to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field or trek into Manhattan for a movie.

“They were just very good friends with similar sensibilities, who laughed at the same things and loved to make each other laugh,” Lax said.

The friendship endured. Rose and Allen played baseball and were in a jazz band together — Rose played drums — and both later enrolled at New York University, where Allen eventually dropped out. Rose continued, studying film and earning a bachelor’s degree.

Rose was among several writers for Allen’s first film, “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” in 1966, originally a Japanese spy film that was overdubbed with zany new dialogue. He and Allen then collaborated on the screenplays for 1969’s “Take the Money and Run,” with Allen starring as an inept bank robber, and “Bananas” in 1971, with Allen as a New Yorker who stumbles into an unlikely role in a Latin American revolution.

They wrote their material together, furiously tossing jokes back and forth and finishing the script for “Take the Money and Run” in a room at the Plaza Hotel in just three weeks. “There was outright laughter sometimes as we worked,” Rose said of the process, according to Lax’s 1991 biography of Allen.

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