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Obituaries

5/15/2005 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Veteran writer and producer Herb Sargent died May 6 at a New York hospital. He was 81.

Best-known for more than 20 years of work as a writer/producer for Saturday Night Live, Sargent started out in TV as one of the writers for the late-night predecessor to The Tonight Show, Broadway Open House, which starred Jerry Lester and Dagmar. He also wrote for The Colgate Comedy Hour starring Fred Allen, The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, and later The Steve Allen Show. And he wrote and produced That Was the Week That Was, whose cast included David Frost.

Over the years, he mentored the younger generation of comedy writers, shaping SNL's “Weekend Update” and conspiring with its hosts: Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Dennis Miller.

In 1968, he wrote the screenplay for Bye Bye Braverman.

The Philadelphia-born Sargent grew up in Upper Darby, Pa., and attended Pennsylvania State University, where he studied architecture until joining the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II.

After his discharge in 1946, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he graduated from the University of California and began writing for local theater productions.

In the late 1940s, he moved to New York, where he landed a job assisting gossip and entertainment columnist Earl Wilson. He began work as a radio writer but soon moved to the then-new medium of television.

Sargent served as a council member of the WGA East from 1985 to 1991, and was elected president in 1991. He received six Emmy Awards and six Writers Guild Awards during his career.

He is survived by his wife, LeGrand Mellon, and his brother, Alvin Sargent.

Walter A. Ward III, director of communications for the Atlanta Braves, died May 8 in Atlanta after a long battle with cancer. He was 42.

Ward led public relations, photography and broadcasting, and print production departments for Turner Broadcasting's Major League Baseball franchise.

Early in his career, he handled personal and event publicity for clients at Baker/Winokur/Ryder and Michael Levine Public Relations.

He joined Turner Broadcasting in 1996 from Showtime Networks in Los Angeles.

In addition to his duties as director of public relations for TNT and TBS, Ward directed press outreach on live TNT concert-event tributes and the annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on TNT.

At Turner Sports, Ward worked on NBA, NASCAR and PGA Golf programming.

He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Wake Forest University.

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