M*A*S*H co-creator Gene Reynolds passes away aged 96

Reynolds was a two-term president of the Directors Guild of America

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 31:  Executive Producer Gene Reynolds accepts the

Gene Reynolds, the co-creator of classic TV series including M*A*S*H and Lou Grant, has passed away at the age of 96.

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Reynolds, who served as president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for two terms in the ‘90s, died on Monday after experiencing heart failure at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.

He had a hugely successful career in film and TV after starting out as an extra, with highlights including five Emmy wins – three for M*A*S*H and a further two for Lou Grant.

Before creating M*A*S*H he had served as a director on several well-known American shows in the ‘60s, such as My Three Sons, Leave It to Beaver and Hogan’s Heroes.

But it is M*A*S*H for which he will be most fondly remembered, with the series – which centred on a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War – running for eleven seasons.

Several stars of film and TV paid tribute to Reynolds and his legacy on social media, with former Lou Grant star Ed Asner tweeting, “Good night old friend. I was blessed to know you. Thank you for everything.”

Meanwhile current DGA president Thomas Schlamme released a joint statement with former national executive director Jay D. Roth, which read: “Gene’s influence on the modern Directors Guild of America was significant and lasting.

“During his two terms as president, he dedicated himself to making the Guild more inclusive – broadening the leadership base, encouraging younger members to take leadership positions, strengthening ties between feature directors, pushing the industry to do better on diversity and working to modify DGA agreements so that filmmakers with low budgets could benefit from DGA membership.

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“Gene’s commitment to the Guild lasted long after his presidency ended, regularly attending Board and Western Directors Council meetings, and never hesitating to share his thoughts. He was passionate about this Guild, spirited in his beliefs and dedicated until the end.”