Born: February 21, 1946
Died: November 1, 2010 (at age 64)
Birthplace: Colorado, U.S.
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. She was a frequent collaborator with Albert Brooks.Johnson was born Monica Lenore Belson in 1946 in Colorado, but was raised in El Centro, California and spent her early years in medical and dental assistants’ school.
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.
Johnson wrote the book Penny Saver (unpublished), and the movie Marrying for Money (unproduced), and began doing art work.
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.
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay 1985 Lost in America
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay 1996 Mother
- The Paul Lynde Show (1973) (TV)
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973) (TV)
- Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (1974) (TV)
- The Cheerleaders (1976) (TV)
- Laverne & Shirley (1977) (TV)
- The Plant Family (1978) (TV)
- Real Life (with Albert Brooks and Harry Shearer) (1979)
- Americathon (with Neal Israel, Michael Mislove, Phil Proctor and Peter Bergman) (1979)
- Modern Romance (with Albert Brooks) (1981)
- Jekyll and Hyde... Together Again (with Jerry Belson, Harvey Miller and Michael J. Leeson) (1982)
- Lost in America (with Albert Brooks) (1985)
- It's Garry Shandling's Show (1990) (TV)
- Good Sports (1991) (TV)
- The Scout (with Roger Angell, Andrew Bergman and Albert Brooks) (1994)
- Mother (with Albert Brooks) (1996)
- The Muse (with Albert Brooks) (1999)