Thad Mumford, Emmy-Winning ‘M*A*S*H’ Writer and Producer, Dies at 67

Mumford’s credits include “The Electric Company,” “ALF” and “The Cosby Show”

Last Updated: September 15, 2018 @ 8:34 AM

Thad Mumford, an Emmy-winning TV writer and producer on such ’70s and ’80s hits as “The Electric Company,” “M*A*S*H,” “ALF” and “A Different World,” has died at age 67.

Mumford died on Sept. 6 in Silver Spring, Maryland, his sister-in-law Donna Coleman told TheWrap.

Mumford, who shared an Emmy Award in 1973 for his writing work on the children’s show “The Electric Company,” had a remarkable career in television at a time when few African-Americans were given opportunities in the industry.

Together with his longtime writing partner Dan Wilcox, Mumford worked on some of the biggest hit sitcoms of the 1970s and ’80s, including the final three seasons of “M*A*S*H,” as well as “ALF,” “Good Times,” “Maude” and “The Cosby Show.”

He also served as a writer and producer on four seasons of the Cosby spinoff “A Different World.”

He continued working well into the ’90s, with credits on shows like “Home Improvement,” “NYPD Blue” and “Judging Amy.”

Mumford, who had a long association with children’s TV and frequently voiced a character aptly named Dr. Thad on “Sesame Street,” also served as a writer and producer on “Blue’s Clues” in the early 2000s.

In a 2017 interview with the TV Academy, he recalled that he initially wanted to be an actor but was advised by his mother, “There are no parts for colored actors, no parts at all … you’re wasting your time.”

So he landed a job as an NBC page and soon began writing jokes for Johnny Carson and Joan Rivers — and wasn’t afraid to lobby “Tonight Show” head writer Marshall Brickman for help.

“Because I was not in any way made to feel fearful of aggressive behavior around white people, or I didn’t feel there was a bubble or a glass ceiling of how far I could reach, I would think nothing of going up to the offices to ask for a sample monologue,” he said, explaining that the research helped prepare him to write his own material.

Tributes for Mumford soon poured in online from stars as well as former colleagues.