Mickey Rose – the childhood friend of Woody Allen, who went on to work with him on comedies "Bananas" and "Take the Money and Run" – has died aged 77. It has been reported the cause was cancer.

Although Rose was handed a fairly heft leg-up by his legendary friend, he carved out a successful career writing jokes and sketched for Johnny Carson, Sid Caesar and other top comedians/shows of his generation. Allen's biographer Eric Lax said of the pair: "They were just very good friends with similar sensibilities, who laughed at the same things and loved to make each other laugh.” Rose really peaked in the 70s, writing for ‘The Smothers Brothers,’ ‘All in the Family,’ ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘The Tonight Show.’ "Mickey was one of the funniest humans I know, a true original and a total eccentric and a wonderful first baseman," Allen said in a statement his biographer released this week. "We played a lot of baseball together. Once, when I asked him what death meant to him he said, 'no more malteds.' The 80’s saw the writing dry up for Rose, who, according to his son, was lacking opportunities.

He stayed in touch with Allen – who introduced him to his late wife via a blind date – over the years. "There was outright laughter sometimes as we worked," Rose said of the process of working with Allen, according to Lax's 1991 biography of the film maker.

Woody AllenAllen was Rose's closest friend