Award-winning screenwriter Mason dies

Mason, who became one of the first female African-American sitcom writers, died on 8 July (09) in Los Angeles.

She was just 19 when she penned her first successful script, Livin’ Fat, produced off Broadway in 1976 by the Negro Ensemble Company and the winner of a comedy award sponsored by the Kennedy Center and television producer Norman Lear.

As a playwright, her works were seen on the New York stage in several off-Broadway productions, including The Daughters of the Mock, Jonah & the Wonder Dog, and A Star Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hole in Heaven – the first winner of the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award for plays about the African-American experience.

More success followed after Lear hired Mason as a writer for hit U.S. TV series Good Times, starring Esther Rolle, John Amos and Jimmie Walker. She also wrote for popular TV series including Sanford, A Different World, the Cosby Show, Beverly Hills 90210, and I’ll Fly Away. Mason’s film credits include Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Emmy Award nominated Sophie And The Moonhanger.

She is survived by her daughter Mason Synclaire Williams and a son, Austin Barrett Williams.