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Ben Starr, Co-Creator of 'Silver Spoons' and 'Facts of Life,' Dies at 92

Facts of Life Episodic - H 2014
Courtesy Everett Collection
"The Facts of Life"

The comedy writer-producer also wrote regularly for "Mister Ed," "All in the Family" and "Diff'rent Strokes," among other sitcoms.

Ben Starr, who co-created Silver Spoons and helped develop The Facts of Life, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, his daughter Carol Starr Schneider told the Los Angeles Times. He was 92.

Starr co-created Silver Spoons with Martin Cohan and Howard Leeds. The series, which ran from 1982-86 on NBC before moving to first-run syndication for one more season, starred a young Ricky Schroder and Joel Higgins as his wealthy but irresponsible father.

He also served as a writer and producer on Diff'rent Strokes and helped develop Facts of Life, a spinoff set at an all-female boarding school, with Leeds and Jerry Mayer.

During his career, the veteran comedy writer-producer also wrote for such series as Mister Ed, All in the Family, The Brady Bunch, Mork & Mindy, The Andy Griffith Show, Petticoat Junction, Chico and the Man and My Favorite Martian. He most recently was credited as a writer on the 2001 Facts of Life Reunion.

On the film side, his writing credits include 1966 James Bond spoof Our Man Flint, starring James Coburn.

More recently, he was featured in Donna Kanter's Lunch, a documentary about a group of comedy vets including Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner who have had lunch together every other Wednesday for 40 years.

Born Oct. 18, 1921, in New York, Starr served in World War II. He attended New York's City College before graduating from UCLA.

He got his start in Hollywood as a writer for radio, working with the likes of George Burns, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Al Jolson. He also wrote plays, including The Family Way, which had a brief run on Broadway in 1965.