Norman Steinberg Obituary – Death: ‘Blazing Saddles’ Screenwriter & ‘Flip Wilson Show ‘Emmy Winner Was 83, Cause Of Death
Norman Steinberg, the co-writer of the acclaimed comedy movie Blazing Saddles with Mel Brooks and an Emmy winner for his work on Flip Wilson’s 1970s variety show, has passed away at the age of 83. Steinberg, who died on March 15, was initially a disillusioned lawyer when he met Brooks in a Manhattan coffee shop during the 1960s. After expressing his desire to become a comedy writer, Brooks encouraged Steinberg to submit a script for his James Bond parody sitcom, Get Smart! Although the show was eventually canceled, Brooks was impressed with Steinberg’s writing and urged him to pursue a career in comedy.
Steinberg’s first comedy writing job was for the music trade magazine, Cash Box, before he landed a job writing a political humor album for David Frye. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he worked alongside George Carlin on NBC’s The Flip Wilson Show, winning an Emmy in the process.
Steinberg was later hired by Brooks, alongside Richard Pryor, to work on the script for a comic Western, initially titled Tex X, which eventually became the iconic movie Blazing Saddles. The movie, which starred Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, was a massive success and is often cited as one of the funniest and most irreverent movies of all time.
In addition to Blazing Saddles, Steinberg wrote several other movies, including My Favorite Year, Johnny Dangerously, and Mr. Mom, as well as producing the Marlo Thomas-starring gender equality special Free to Be… You and Me. Steinberg is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, sister, stepchildren, and former wife. A memorial service will be held in New York in the spring.