Friday, September 11, 2015

9-11 and David & Lynn Angell

I re-post this every year on this date and always will. 

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 fourteen years later, so inconceivable.

24 comments:

Roseann said...

Agreed.

Johnny Walker said...

Very sad. And completely senseless.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

G-d Bless. People even here in NY are becoming forgetful of the people and the events. Never forget is becoming, "Are we reading those names again? When are they going to stop?"

Mighty Dyckerson said...

Just a lame excuse to take a day off. Lazy ass.

Amy L. said...

I try to read your posts daily but I make a special effort to return annually on this day. Thank you for sharing - again - and my condolences on your loss.

David Richardson said...

Thanks for sharing, Ken.

Canda said...

I was told he was also a man of strong faith. And that he and his wife had chosen to stay a day later in Cape Cod, which is why they flew on Tuesday, 9/11, rather than Monday, 9/10.

CRL said...

When your first script is 'Pick a Con.... Any Con' you drop the mic and walk off stage.......

Peter said...

This moves me every time I read it. It's a heartfelt and wonderfully written tribute. My condolences to you on your loss and to everyone who lost someone on that awful awful day.

MikeK.Pa. said...

I live in a town that lost 10 residents on 9/11. Another man that I would nod "hi" to on the train to North Jersey and NYC, but never knew his name until I saw his photo in the paper, also died that day. As did the son of a co-worker. I still can't wrap my mind around it - that it happened and the amount of hate that motivated the people who did it. Totally senseless.

John Hammes said...

The foundation in their name speaks volumes to their character.

The example set in their lives speaks volumes to us.

They will be long remembered.

RobW said...

Minor question, I know, but how do you pronounce his last name ? Is it pronounced like 'angel" or ' angle' ?

Mighty Dyckerson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tudor Queen said...

This never fails to move me.

Chester said...

I move to take Mighty Dickerson's comment off the board. Any seconders?

Albert Giesbrecht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Albert Giesbrecht said...

Niles and Daphne's baby, born in the final episode, is named David, after David Angell.

mmryan314 said...

Thank you for this repost Ken. I`ve been emotional all day today reading and re-reading stories of 9/11. This is a wonderful tribute.

Mighty Dyckerson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt said...

The channel Encore has recently been showing Cheers episodes on Friday. Today they were showing several episodes from Season two. David Angel was credited as Senior Story Editor on several of them.

mmryan314 said...

I love credits so I watch them. It appears to me that David Angell, in his writing, really got the Sam/Diane connection. Perhaps a testament to his own love of his wife

Richard said...

Here's my Friday Question question.

While many sit-coms are entertaining with their yuck-yucks, some go above and beyond. Both MASH and Scrubs come to mind as shows that bring death into the mix and let things get real.

My question is, how does a writer's room decide to put the hammer down for such an episode? Having a half-hour of in-law jokes is an ocean away from having someone pass away.

The in-law jokes may get ratings, but the death episodes (not to get too dark) are the ones I remember years down the road.

Richard

Rick Manheim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Maxwell said...

Sorry Ken.