'Secret of My Success' writer A.J. Carothers dies


Screenwriter A.J. Carothers, best-known for the 1987 Michael J. Fox movie "The Secret of My Success" and Fred MacMurray's 1968 film "The Happiest Millionaire," has died. He was 75.

Carothers died of cancer Monday at his Los Angeles home, his son Andrew said Wednesday.

He wrote more than 100 other motion pictures, television shows and stage plays during his 40-year career.

A dashing Southern gentleman, Carothers was once called "one of Hollywood's most successful TV and motion picture writers (and) one of its best dressed men," his son said.

Born Oct. 22, 1931, in Houston, Carothers was only 9 when he wrote his first story -- a murder mystery -- and sold it to a classmate for 15 cents.

He began his professional career as a story editor for the CBS-TV show "Studio One," and then as associate producer of "Playhouse 90" and "GE Theater."

Carothers worked closely with Walt Disney for seven years and delivered a eulogy at Disney's funeral.

While under contract with Disney, Carothers wrote "Miracle of the White Stallions" and "Emil and the Detectives."

Carothers went on to write "Never a Dull Moment" starring Dick Van Dyke and "Hero at Large" with John Ritter.

In later years. Carothers wrote the book for the 1996 stage musical "Busker Alley," which starred Tommy Tune and toured the nation.

Carothers is survived by his wife of 47 years, Caryl; three sons, Andrew of San Francisco and Cameron and Christopher of Los Angeles; brother Gibson Carothers of Houston; and sister Lesley Norris of San Diego.

A funeral is planned Monday at First Presbyterian Church in Houston. A Los Angeles memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. April 29 at Westwood Presbyterian Church.