Caruso died in Los Angeles last week of pneumonia, according to this story in The Hollywood Reporter. He was 83.
The THR obit tells a story that was typical in that era for comedy writers who found their way into sitcom writing. A writer would often start his or her career working for a specific comedian or performer.
In the case of Caruso, he had worked as a writer for comedian Don Adams before “Get Smart,” but that connection doubtlessly helped him rise to become head writer on the show — along with writing partner Gerald Gardner.
Adams, of course, played secret agent Maxwell Smart on the well-remembered spy spoof that was co-created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Caruso wrote 22 episodes of “The Monkees” and wrote for Bill Cosby, Red Skelton and the Smothers Brothers.