Eugene Reynolds Blumenthal (April 4, 1923 – February 3, 2020) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, and actor. He was one of the developers and producers of the TV series M*A*S*H.
Reynolds was born on April 4, 1923, to Frank Eugene Blumenthal, a businessman and entrepreneur, and Maude Evelyn (Schwab) Blumenthal, a model, in Cleveland, Ohio. Reynolds initially was raised in Detroit, before the family relocated to Los Angeles in 1934.
Reynolds served in the United States Navy during World War II. He served on ships including a destroyer-minesweeper the USS Zane. Following the war, Reynolds received a degree in history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and picked up his acting career.
Reynolds made his screen debut in the 1934 Our Gang short Washee Ironee, and for the next three decades made numerous appearances in films such as Captains Courageous (1937), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Boys Town (1938), They Shall Have Music (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), Adventure in Washington (1941), Eagle Squadron (1942) and The Country Girl (1954) and on television series like I Love Lucy, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Whirlybirds, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. He was contracted to MGM between 1937 and 1940.
As a child actor, Reynolds often played the young version of the film's star character. He did this for Ricardo Cortez in 1937's The Californian, Tyrone Power in In Old Chicago (1938), James Stewart in 1938's Of Human Hearts and Don Ameche in Sins of Man (1936).
Directing and writing
Following his return to acting after serving in World War II, Reynolds became frustrated with not being able to land leading roles and the general progress of his career, and turned to directing, shooting episodes of shows such as Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, and My Three Sons.
In 1957, Reynolds joined forces with Frank Gruber and James Brooks to create Tales of Wells Fargo for NBC. During the program's five-year run he wrote and directed numerous episodes.
Reynolds' additional directing credits include multiple episodes of The Farmer's Daughter, F Troop, Hogan's Heroes, and Many Happy Returns. He was the Executive Producer for Room 222, a breakthrough comedy-drama on the ABC network which was about an African American school teacher, and which dealt with subjects such as drugs, prejudice and dropping out of school. The series ran for over 100 episodes, some of which Reynolds directed. ABC released Reynolds from the show when it thought making the show funnier would result in higher ratings.
As a writer, director, and producer, Reynolds was involved with two highly successful CBS series in the 1970s and early 1980s. Between 1972 and 1983, he produced 120 episodes of M*A*S*H, which he co-created with Larry Gelbart, and for which he also wrote 11 episodes and directed 24. During that same period, he produced 22 episodes of Lou Grant, for which he wrote (or co-wrote) five episodes and directed 11.
Reynolds has been nominated for twenty-four Emmy Awards and won six times, including Outstanding Comedy Series for M*A*S*H and Outstanding Drama Series twice for Lou Grant, which also earned him a Humanitas Prize. He won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Direction of a Comedy Series twice for his work on M*A*S*H and the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Direction of a Drama Series once for his work on Lou Grant.
Reynolds was elected President of the Directors Guild of America in 1993, a position he held until 1997.
Reynolds was married to actress-turned-author Bonnie Jones, who appeared in five episodes of M*A*S*H as Lt. Barbara Bannerman, from 1972 until 1975, when the couple divorced. He and his second wife, actress Ann Sweeny, who also appeared on M*A*S*H as Nurse Carrie Donovan in the episode "Hanky Panky", married in 1979 and have one son, Andrew Reynolds.
Reynolds died at the age of 96 of heart failure on February 3, 2020, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.
- ^ a b c d e Genzlinger, Neil. "Gene Reynolds, an Architect of 'M*A*S*H,' Is Dead at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ "Archive of American Television Interview with Gene Reynolds, Chapter 1". Archive of American Television. August 22, 2000. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- ^ a b "Two Veterans of Show Business Reunited on 'Hennesey" Series". Jefferson City Post Tribune. March 4, 1960. p. 13. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
- ^ a b c d e Haefner, Laura. "Gene Reynolds, Co-Creator of 'MASH,' Dies at 96". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ a b c d "Gene Reynolds - Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ "Gene Reynolds - Awards & Nominations". Emmys. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ a b Pedersen, Erik. "Gene Reynolds Dies: 'M*A*S*H' Co-Creator, TV Director-Producer & Ex-DGA President Was 96". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ a b Koseluk, Chris. "Gene Reynolds, Creative Architect Behind 'M*A*S*H' and 'Lou Grant,' Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- ^ Daniel, David. "'M*A*S*H' co-creator and longtime television producer Gene Reynolds has died". CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
- Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2002). Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Film and Television. McFarland & Co. pp. 242–250. ISBN 1476613702.
- Holmstrom, John (1996). The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich: Michael Russell, p. 116.