Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11 and David and 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 sixteen years later, so inconceivable.


Peter said...

A lovely tribute that never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

RIP to them and all who lost their lives on that horrific day.

littlejohn said...


Thanks for posting this reminder to us all !



B McMolo said...

Every year on this day, amidst the general national reflection, I think of my friend's sister, also on Flight 11, and say a little prayer. And as a result specifically of this blog, I think too of David and Lynn Angel. I only know them through your words and their own, via the shows I've loved over the years. I look forward to this point; it's good to remember and be part of a community mutually remembering.

William Kelliher said...


So much loss that day. It's unimaginable how much pain and loss that day caused and continues to inflict.

You were blessed to have had David and Lynn touch your life the way they did.

Johnny Walker said...

Still so horrible and pointless.

PJ said...

I looked for and found their names at the 911 memorial. Such senseless loss. I find it touching that Daphne and Niles named their baby David. It's bittersweet each time I see it.

Al C. said...

Dear Ken,
Thank you for this moving annual tribute. I'm a longtime reader and this post is one I never miss. Remembering specifically David and Lynn helps to understand the magnitude of such horrific, immense, and senseless loss of life.

May the victims rest in peace. We continue to keep them, the first responders, and all their friends and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.

Mary Kay said...

Thank you again. Never forget.

Jahn Ghalt said...

I always enjoy your fine tribute to your friends.

I was disappointed to hear (from a couple upstate New Yorkers) that "only a memorial" was built on the site - except they got it wrong! Seven new buildings are now complete or in-progress - a fitting tribute.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

One of my favorite Frasier episodes, "Odd Man Out," filmed in 1997, contains a couple of moments that are profoundly eerie in retrospect.

The plot concerns Frasier acknowledging his loneliness as a divorced middle-aged man.

In an otherwise funny scene, he tries dining alone inconspicuously in an upscale restaurant, but finds himself surrounded by happy couples.

One fellow diner, whose girlfriend has just accepted his marriage proposal, tells his fiancee that he hopes someday they will die at the same instant so that they will never be apart.

In other scenes, Frasier repeatedly plays back a message inadvertently left on his answering machine by a young woman advising her sister that she'll soon be arriving in town on flight 11.