Gene Reynolds, the Emmy Award-winning producer who helped create the TV series MASH and Lou Grant, served twice as the president of the Directors Guild of America, and produced or directed dozens of other shows, has died. Reynolds' niece confirms to CNN that her uncle died of heart failure Monday at the age of 96 in a hospital in Burbank, Calif. Per Deadline, Reynolds started working for the small screen in the late '50s, writing for the NBC Western Tales of Wells Fargo. Soon he was directing series such as Leave It to Beaver, The Munsters, The Andy Griffith Show, and My Three Sons, and he started producing in the '60s for such shows as Hogan's Heroes, F Troop, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.
But it was MASH, created with Larry Gelbart based on the 1970 movie of the same name, that really put Reynolds on the map. The CBS series debuted in 1972 and ran through 1983; the series finale that year remains the most-watched TV series episode ever. "In directing, I'm always looking for the little humane touch—something that is real," he said in a 2000 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. "It could be a hand on the shoulder. It could be just an extra lingering look. ... And that goes with comedy or drama." Reynolds is survived by his wife, Ann Sweeny, who had a small role in MASH, and their son, Andrew. Reynolds talks about his work on MASH here, including the casting of "Hawkeye" Pierce, played on the TV show by Alan Alda. (Read more obituary stories.)