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Lawrence M. Smith

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Lawrence M. Smith Obituary
Lawrence M. Smith

Cincinnati - Lawrence M. Smith, 79, of Cincinnati, died Monday, February 19, 2018 at Mercy Health West Park. Larry was born June 23, 1938 in Dayton, Ohio to Harry and Janice Smith. Creator of Larry Smith Puppets, he fell in love with puppeteering as a five-year old boy. At age seven, he began doing shows on a homemade stage, carried on a wagon, to bus stops around his neighborhood. At 14, Larry won a Dayton youth talent award for his puppetry and made his television debut on WHIO-TV with the "Tic Tock Toy Shop," where his most famous characters Teaser the Mouse, Rudy the Rooster, Buzzy the Bear, Mean Old Cat and Hattie the Witch, were introduced.

Larry accepted a job offer from WCPO-TV in 1957 and was given his own one-hour daily live show, "Puppet Time Morning" as well as responsibility for all of the puppet work for the Cincinnati institution, "The Uncle Al Show." In 1960, Larry was invited by Burr Tillstrom, creator of Kukla, Fran & Ollie, to join the Broadway stage production of Kukla, Burr & Ollie. During his career, Larry had television shows on all local stations before retiring in 2006. Regional and national series and specials produced by Larry included, The Magic Forest, The Littlest Snowman, the primetime adult series The Contemporaries, Cartoon Clubhouse, Once Upon a Broomstick, Granny Snowflakes Christmas Surprise, Hattie's Thanksgiving Reunion, and The Grrreat Kids Show. Larry may have been best known for his "Larry Smith Puppets" show on channel 19 from 1968-74 when the characters in the Magic Forest captivated young viewers.

Former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory proclaimed March 15, 2008 as "Larry Smith Day." To celebrate the occasion, Media Heritage presented Larry with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild presented him with their Founders Award which has since been renamed the "Larry Smith Award." Larry was a gift to family, friends and the many he entertained throughout his 79 years and will be greatly missed.

Larry is survived by nieces Cindy (Myles) Schneible of Texas, Kitty Smith (Bill Bott) of New York, Amy (Keith) Kreider of South Carolina, nephew Dana Smith of Switzerland, former sister-in-law Gretchen Smith and sister-in-law Sandy Smith. Larry was great Uncle to Erica, Katie and Jake Kreider. He was preceded in death by his brother Don Smith, his parents, and best friend and partner Don Glanzer. Larry's family extends love and gratitude to his longtime friends Susie Moore and Wayne Martin; and special thanks to his excellent team of caregivers at Mercy Health West Park and Hospice of Cincinnati. In lieu of flowers, his family asks you to consider a memorial gift to Media Heritage Museum (, Puppetry Guild of Cincinnati ( or Mercy Health West Park, 2950 West Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45238. A memorial service will be held at 3 pm on Saturday, March 3 at Bolton and Lunsford Funeral Home, 3042 Harrison Avenue, Cincinnati ( Family will receive friends from 1-3 pm prior to the service. Private interment.
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Feb. 26, 2018
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