Monica Johnson

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Monica Johnson
Monica Lenore Belson

February 21, 1946
Colorado, U.S.
DiedNovember 1, 2010(2010-11-01) (aged 64)
Other namesMonica McGowan
Monica McGowan Johnson
OccupationTelevision writer
Years active1973–1999
RelativesJerry Belson (brother)

Monica Johnson (February 21, 1946 – November 1, 2010) was an American screenwriter whose film credits included Mother, Lost in America, Modern Romance, Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again and The Muse. Her television credits included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laverne & Shirley and It's Garry Shandling's Show,[1] she was a frequent collaborator with Albert Brooks.[1]

Early life[edit]

Johnson was born Monica Lenore Belson in 1946 in Colorado, but was raised in El Centro, California[1] and spent her early years in medical and dental assistants’ school.[2][3][4][5]


Her brother, Jerry Belson, a longtime Emmy Award winning screenwriter and film producer, hired her to type scripts for the TV series The Odd Couple circa 1972; noticing that his sister added jokes to the scripts which met with the producers' approval, he suggested that she partner with Marilyn Suzanne Miller to form a writing team. Initially working under her married name of Monica Mcgowan in 1973, she and Miller penned three scripts for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. For the second script, having remarried, she was credited as Monica Mcgowan Johnson. By the time of third script in 1974, she was credited simply as Monica Johnson, the professional name she would use for the rest of her career.

Miller and Johnson broke up as a writing team in 1974; Miller would go on to become one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live starting in 1975.

Johnson later became a writer/producer on Laverne & Shirley, and worked on a couple of TV movies before beginning her long-term screenwriting collaboration with Albert Brooks in 1979 with the film Real Life; the two would co-write five more of Brooks' films over the following two decades.[6]

Johnson wrote the book Penny Saver (unpublished), and the movie Marrying for Money (unproduced), and began doing art work.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Johnson, a resident of Palm Springs, California, died of esophageal cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on November 1, 2010, aged 64, she was survived by her seventh husband, Charles Lohr; a daughter, Heidi Johnson; and a brother, Gordon Belson.[1][7]




  1. ^ a b c d McLellan, Dennis (2010-11-04). "Monica Johnson dies at 64; movie and TV writer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
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  6. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (2010). Backstory 5: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1990s. ISBN 9780520251052.
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