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Saturday, May 25, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Tom Forman, Co-Creator Of `Motley's Crew'

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES - Tom Forman, half of the creative team that produced the "Motley's Crew" syndicated comic strip for the past 20 years, has died. He was 60.

Mr. Forman, who wrote the strip drawn by Ben Templeton and signed Forman & Templeton, died last week of cancer in his home in nearby Agoura Hills.

The team also produced the comics "Elwood," "Prime Time" and "The Sporting Life."

"Motley's Crew," printed regularly in 250 newspapers, is a satirical social commentary as seen through the eyes of blue-collar worker Mike Motley.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Forman earned a degree in government at California State University, Los Angeles, and taught government and history for four years. Then he switched to writing, producing and developing television documentaries, feature films and television plots.

Deciding he was going broke trying to sell movies, he got the idea for Motley and, through a mutual friend, met Templeton, an advertising art director and designer. They drew and wrote the strip and managed to sell it to a syndicate in 1976. They added "The Sporting Life," which satirizes sports, two years later and the others after that.

The two men worked in their respective homes and met weekly to critique each other's output, sure the neighbors thought they were occupied in something illegal.

"They're very suspicious," Mr. Forman said in 1981. "All they know about us is that we work for a syndicate, get phone calls from New York, never go out and have meetings in the basement."

Mr. Forman is survived by his wife, Ann, and two children, David and Laura.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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