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.
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 eleven years later, so inconceivable.