Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and David & Lynn Angell

I re-post this 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 ten years later, so inconceivable.

14 comments:

Sebastian said...

It's strange to me that even I, from some town in Germany, went to school with someone who worked right across the street of the WTC when it happened.

Yesterday @donttrythis (Adam Savage) posted that he flew back to LA on flight 93 on September 10th 2011.

I want to make some kind of dark Kevin Bacon joke but I don't think it would be funny...

Mike Barer said...

Thoughts and Prayers are with you

Phillip B said...

A study along the way showed that 1 of every 4 college graduates in the US knew someone lost on 9/11 - and those deaths reduced the statistical life expectancy of Americans by a full year.

Not meant to be wizz-bang facts, just small ways to demonstrate the enormity of what occurred. We were all there, somehow, and I've felt that connection each day since - especially those days fortunate enough to be spent in New York.

Anonymous said...

I thought of Lynn and Dave today, as you do on 9/11.

I knew them before and after Dave "broke in". Did you know he wrote an installation manual for a bar mounted soda dispenser?

While Lynn was a librarian at Campbell Hall school Dave did what he could.

I visited him on the set of Cheers many times, always a treat.

Two finer people you would never meet.

WendyB said...

Thanks for posting this. Whenever I see his name in a credit, I think of this...

olucy said...

I always think of them on this day, too, and of Niles and Daphne naming their first child David.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking about their last minutes of life together (as well as all of the victims) still haunts me to this day.

Meredith said...

Like WendyB above, I also think of this column every time I see David Angell in the credits of a show I'm watching. I've been reading this blog long enough to have read it several years in a row now. So glad you post it - it's a great tribute. RIP, Angells.

Bob Claster said...

Ken--

I have a better idea. Post this every year on David's birthday, rather than on the anniversary of the date 19 religious fanatics committed an insane crime and took him from us.

--Bob

David K. M. Klaus said...

I have trouble looking at that photo which keeps getting reprinted of the plane banked left just short of hitting the second tower. I keep wishing, almost praying, that the next time I see it there will be a red and blue speck at the front pulling it up, up, and away, but there never is.

Johnny Walker said...

A very sad read, indeed. My thoughts are with you.

HogsAteMySister said...

Never forget.

And with the name Angell, how could we?

J S Swanson said...

Thanks,Ken. KACL was a wondrous place. And the loss of Mr Angell - & Mrs. Angell, too - not to mention all the other passengers on their flight diminishes us all.
A Toast to Honoring & Moving On ...

Brian said...

My mom grew up with David since high school in Rhode Island. Then my parents and a group of couples became good friends with Dave and Lynn. My parents tell me about the days Dave and Lynn started to drive to California in their van.
Dave and Lynn were like Uncle and Aunt to me. I'm so lucky to have had them in my life. I always told Dave, when I get older, I want to follow his foot steps and work in tv.