PASSINGS: Ben Starr, Otis Pike

Ben Starr

Longtime comedy writer featured in documentary

Ben Starr, 92, a veteran comedy writer who was featured in the 2012 documentary "Lunch" chronicling the twice-monthly meetings of show business funnymen, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, according to his daughter Carol Starr Schneider.

In a lengthy television career, Starr co-created the 1980s sitcom "Silver Spoons," helped develop "The Facts of Life" and was a regular screenwriter for the popular series "Mister Ed," "All in the Family" and "Diff'rent Strokes." He also wrote for such comedy favorites as "The Brady Bunch," "Chico and the Man," "Maude," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Petticoat Junction" and "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."

For film, he co-wrote the screenplay for the 1966 James Bond spoof "Our Man Flint," starring James Coburn.

In "Lunch," Starr joined Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner and other longtime comedy writers and performers reminiscing and critiquing their trade.

Born Oct. 18, 1921, in New York City, Starr served in World War II and got his start in comedy by writing for radio.


Otis Pike


New York congressman headed House probe of CIA

Former New York Democratic Rep. Otis Pike, 92, who led a mid-1970s House investigation into CIA activities, died Monday at a Vero Beach, Fla., hospice after a long illness, said his daughter, Lois Pike Eyre.

In 1975 and 1976, Pike chaired the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which investigated questionable CIA activities. The agency considered the inquiries by the Pike Committee and its counterpart in the Senate as a dramatic shift in Congress and the first significant House investigation of the U.S. intelligence community since the CIA's creation in 1947.

Pike also served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee. He served 18 years in Congress before deciding to retire in 1978.

Pike went on to write a syndicated column for Newhouse Newspapers for 20 years.

Pike was born Aug. 31, 1921, in Riverhead, N.Y. He served in the Marines as a pilot in the Pacific during World War II, graduated from Princeton University and Columbia University Law School, and then worked as a lawyer in his hometown.

Times staff and wire reports

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