Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11 and David & Lynn Angell

This is a re-post but I will probably be re-posting it every year on this date.
9/11 affected us all, profoundly and in many cases personally. Two of my dear friends were on flight 11. David and Lynn Angell. There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought of them, missed them, and not felt grateful that they were in my life.

David and I worked together on CHEERS, WINGS, and FRASIER (the latter two he co-created). We used to call him the “dean”. In his quiet way he was the one we always looked to for final approval of a line or a story direction. He brought a warmth and humanity to his writing that hopefully rubbed off on the rest of us “schickmeisters”. And he could be funny – sneaky funny. During long rewrite sessions he tended to be quiet. Maybe two or three times a night he’d pitch a joke – but they were always the funniest jokes of the script.

For those of you hoping to become comedy writers yourselves, let David Angell be your inspiration. Before breaking in he worked in the U.S. Army, the Pentagon, an insurance firm, an engineering company, and then when he finally moved out to L.A. he did “virtually every temp job known to man” for five years. Sometimes even the greatest talents take awhile to be recognized.

I first met David the first season of CHEERS. He came in to pitch some stories. He had been recommended after writing a good NEWHART episode. This shy quiet man who looked more like a quantum physics professor than a comedy writer, slinked into the room, mumbled through his story pitches, and we all thought, “is this the right guy? He sure doesn’t seem funny.” Still, he was given an assignment (“Pick a con…any con”) and when the script came back everyone was just blown away. He was quickly given a second assignment (“Someone single, someone blue”) and that draft came back even better. I think the first order of business for the next season was to hire David Angell on staff.

After 9/11, David’s partners Peter Casey & David Lee called me and my partner into their office. There was a FRASIER script David Angell was about to write. (It was the one where Lilith’s brother arrived in a wheelchair and became an evangelist. Michael Keaton played the part.) Peter & David asked if we would write it and for me that was a greater honor than even winning an Emmy.

David’s wife, Lynn, was also an inspiration. She devoted her life to helping others – tirelessly working on creating a children’s library and a center that serves abused children.

My heart goes out to their families. To all of the families.

I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

So tragic, so senseless, and even nine years later, so inconceivable.


Mel said...

I get a lump in my throat every time his name pops up on screen when I'm watching a rerun of Cheers or Frasier. He wrote some of my favorite episodes.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

My rabbi once said "A person never truly dies until they are forgotten." Thanks for keeping David and Lynn's memory alive.

Anonymous said...

A tremendous loss to be sure and yet one of thousands that day. The true depths of tragedy is the facts revolving around the entire day and how once one digs deeply into those very facts, one comes to know the whole day was a false-flag CIA operation that now has left us nine years later with a torn and tattered United States Constitution and literal enslavement to our Gov't/banking empires. The worst is yet to come.

YEKIMI said...

Here are a couple of other sites that have memories about David & Lynn:

Mac said...

Lovely tribute.
It's always a strange moment watching his shows; laughing so much, then the feeling of sadness when his name appears.
It's good to know that he's remembered so fondly by his friends and colleagues.

olucy said...

I remember being touched when reading that Niles and Daphne named their son David as a tribute to him.

The show leaving on such a high note, and with that thought. Very sweet.

gottacook said...

Hey, Anonymous: I don't expect to change your mind, and I realize there will always be people who subscribe to conspiracy theories, but: If you're going to offer such views, at least use a name! (Many people who believe as you do also believe that no plane crashed into the Pentagon - the brother of a co-worker of my wife's was killed on that plane.)

FrasierFan said...

Hi ken,

Big fan of Fraiser and your blog.

I really enjoyed reading and reflecting on this touching tribute to a great writer that David Angell was.

May I ask in what capacity he was involved in Frasier.

I recall him writing only one episode in the first season i.e. the BRILLIANT "My Coffee with Niles". I was surprised that he did not write any more scripts directly.

Just wanted to get your thoughts?

Kind regards