Screenwriter Monica Johnson, a frequent collaborator with Albert Brooks who co-wrote many of his best films, died yesterday of esophageal cancer. She was 64 years old. Johnson got her start writing for TV shows like Mary Tyler Moore (where she nabbed an Emmy), Laverne And Shirley, and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show. Her screenplays with friend Albert Brooks include Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost In America, Mother, and The Muse (with a polish on The Scout), with Johnson supplying a much-needed feminine (though no less neurotic) voice to counterbalance Brooks’ often-acerbic explorations into the relationships between men and women, as well as just generally being funny in her own right. Away from Brooks, Johnson also worked on the futuristic satire Americathon and wrote Jekyll And Hyde…Together Again with her brother, comedy writer Jerry Belson, who first got her into the business. Deadline has a reprint of a typically self-deprecating bio Johnson wrote for her website just weeks before her death. (Sample line: “There is much in her writing career that she can’t recall because she has lost all her memory because of environmental toxins.”)

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