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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Mary Tyler Moore Present’ Author Was 91


Bob Ellison, the two-time Emmy Award winner who wrote for The Mary Tyler Moore Present and served as a game-saving inventive/script guide on Cheers, Wings, Becker and plenty of different comedies, has died. He was 91.

He died April 8 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Middle in Los Angeles, his enterprise supervisor, Malcolm Orland, advised The Hollywood Reporter. “He was a sweetheart and so good at what he did,” Orland stated.

Ellison got here from the world of selection reveals, the place he wrote and/or produced a number of specials that starred Julie Andrews and Burt Bacharach. He additionally co-developed the 1988-92 NBC sitcom Expensive John, starring Judd Hirsch.

Ellison wrote 15 episodes and was an govt story editor over the last two of The Mary Tyler Moore Present’s seven seasons (from 1975-77). He shared an Emmy with Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels and David Lloyd for the beloved collection finale, “The Final Present.”

The unheralded Ellison was a guide on one other legendary sitcom, NBC’s Cheers, for its remaining seven seasons (1986-93); on NBC’s Wings for its final 4 years (1993-97); and on CBS’ Becker for its remaining 5 seasons (1999-2004).

He carried out related duties for Caroline within the Metropolis, Andy Controls the Universe, Bob, Amen, Angie, Better of the West and Mr. President.

“He was all the time optimistic, all the time humorous and all the time introduced new vitality into each writing session,” Becker creator Dave Hackel advised THR. (They labored collectively on Expensive John and Wings as nicely.)

So simply what does a inventive guide do? They “come on in the future per week on a troubled script, go to a run-through and a studying and discover out what the issues are and attempt to repair them. Generally that includes jokes that don’t work,” he advised fellow comedy author Ken Levine on a 2019 episode of the Hollywood & Levine podcast.

“You all the time should determine that the reply is within the air. You simply have to attend, understand it when it comes alongside and seize it. You possibly can’t go in and say it’s unattainable, that you may’t discover it, that you simply’ll by no means get it.”

Throughout one spectacular stretch, he labored on six reveals per week.

Born in New York on Feb. 25, 1933, Robert Ellison graduated from the LaGuardia Excessive Faculty of Music & Artwork and began out in present enterprise as a trombone participant within the Catskills. He usually had a joke for the stand-up with whom he was sharing a nightclub invoice.

Ellison as soon as wrote a bit concerning the TV present Ben Casey for a comic book and received paid $68.80 for it, a sum he used to cowl the price of an Olivetti typewriter he’d simply bought. That despatched his profession in a brand new route, and he would write for Tony Bennett, stand-up Pat Henry and plenty of others.

He labored on The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, The Dom DeLuise Present and the Robert Morse-starring That’s Life within the Nineteen Sixties, then was employed for specials hosted by the likes of Andrews, Bacharach, Alan King, Bing Crosby, Petula Clark, Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis and Richard Pryor.

Ellison acquired his first Emmy for a 1971 Bacharach particular and was additionally nominated for his writing on The Kraft Music Corridor that yr, Julie and Carol at Lincoln Middle (that may be Andrews and Carol Burnett) in 1972 and The Julie Andrews Hour in 1973.

He labored on the Mary Tyler Moore spinoffs Rhoda and Phyllis and produced The Betty White Present, all for MTM Enterprises, too.

Survivors embody his spouse, Elaine. They’d no kids.

Levine additionally wrote alongside Ellison on Cheers, Becker and different comedies and introduced him in to assist out on Massive Wave Dave’s, the 1993 CBS sitcom he created with David Isaacs. “When David and I might get a present on the air, our first name was all the time to you,” Levine advised him on the podcast.

Ellison recalled a time when an ABC govt who had two “henchmen” with him watched a run-through of a sketch he had written. “My Midwest asshole tells me that’s not humorous,” the man advised Ellison. “I stated, ‘Which one is he?’”

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