Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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 seventeen years later, so inconceivable.


John H said...

I'm so sorry Ken.

Anonymous said...

I read it every year, Ken. Even though its been 17 years, the shock and heartbreak remains fresh.

They are always in my prayers.

Pam, St. Louis

Peter said...

Rest in peace to David, Lynn and all those who were murdered on 9/11.

Whenever I think of the past now, it's always in terms of the world before September 11 2001 and the world after.

Anonymous said...

It may be that every job he had, inclding “virtually every temp job known to man” helped him become a good writer

CarolMR said...

RIP, David and Lynn, and all the victims of that tragic day.

SailorCallie said...

May they rest in peace.

Dave Creek said...

As Anonymous said above, I read this entire post each year. "Look forward to it" isn't the right phrase. I suppose I anticipate it, and appreciate how great it is that you remember your colleague and friend each year. I also think of 9/11 whenever I see David Angell's name on the credits of FRASIER.

YEKIMI said...

Woke up that afternoon and turned on the TV to see local news showing people running around, screaming and carrying on and I wondered what the hell was happening in Cleveland. Few minutes later saw the footage of the planes and was terrified because a friend's wife worked in one of the towers [above the 100th floor, if I remember correctly] and my friend worked on Wall Street. Spent the next two days calling him and not getting an answer left me with a sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Third day, he called me and said they were both fine, but he had a hell of a time getting out of there, tripping over bodies, etc. and he finally was able to catch a ferry over to New Jersey. They ended up going to over 2 dozen funerals for friends that they lost. Myself, turns out that I ended up knowing two people that lost relatives in the collapse of the buildings. It's a small world after all......

Bert said...


Jon G. said...

10 years I've visited this site on this day in September.
10 years I have not commented.
Finally I shall.
Some of my earliest memories were of Lynn and the Library she helped found, from a "yellow barn" where she would dress up for Halloweeen, to her story telling, to her jokes and laughs which are all to vague 25 years later, to a transition library in the auditorium, to where the library stands now. Lynn gave thought to every action and every child at Hillsides, her words were kind, her personality was persay an Angells.
I vividly remember 9/11/01 as if it was happening right now. I recall televisions being off for the week, radios we're not allowed, newspapers not seen. Hillsides wanted to let the news in kindly. Yes it sounds drastic. But speaking for oneself, her being gone was felt among everyone at Hillsides. Children and caregivers alike. she was there and then was not. So the news being told to us was a shocker.
I recall the "satellite" housing units being called in by Ramona and she told us what happebed. Yes gasps and silence ensued. No one really knew what to say. Ramona asked me if I had a picture of Lynn. I normally did. Yet I couldn't find it. I was shaken. Being 13 at the time I didn't expect to lose someone like Lynn and felt hollow. The way it happened nonetheless was an absolute tragedy.
The sheer amount of will she geared towards all of us at Hillsides is admirable, it's astonishing years later learning who she really was, that she and David are altruistic to the core of their being, they gave without thought. Always wanting others to become better individuals.

I shall not forget Lynn nor David Angell as they both helped guide me and shape me into the man I am today.
I am truly grateful for being able to tell others I knew these two great people.
Thank you.

Jon G.

Janet Ybarra said...

Ken, it says something that your 9/11 memorial is classier and more dignified than what the president of the United States can muster up for the day.

Tudor Queen said...

I'm another long-term reader of this blog who has had the privilege of reading this particular tribute every year on this day. It always reminds me of the truly human cost of 9/11 - not numbers, but people. People who - like the Angells - had no idea they were about to be killed in a war.

Great talent and great heart are extremely hard, if not impossible, to replace. Your friends had both in abundance. It's no wonder you miss them so. I miss them and, unlike you, never had the pleasure of meeting them, let alone be their friend.

Mike Barer said...

May we never forget.

Unknown said...

Dear Ken...I had Mr and Mrs Angell as paxs numerous times on my flight 11 BOS-LAX...My crewmembers friends were on the plane..I was in BOS on VC..the Angell were always kind to betty myself and the whole crew..I met Mr Angell in BOS years before as BOS is my hometown..I know how you feel..ALL are my crewmembers and family and friends are inspiration to me..I write in their legacy..I too..lost loved ones as ALL of us..tailwinds. Safe travels..thank you for sharing..Charlene Marie Jones Flight attendant American airlines BOS Logan international airport BOS Massachusetts

Jon G said...

It's hard to say, I can't state I ever meet you. Or even knew you existed before I came upon your blog.
You should know, the Angell's are always my Angell.
Thruout my entirety, every day I think sadly about. From the moments I doubt. Lynn comes to mind..
I can't recall ever meeting David, but if I ever did I can't think sour, his soul and personality would definitely reflect Lynn's.
Another year, another moment of tears for these two human beings who blessed this world with kindness.

I'm happy to have known real people in this world, turning 31 this year has shown me who my true friends are, and I still know Lynn to be a friend.

I can't say I know really what I'm saying. But I'm certain it'll be fine.
Lynn was a bright star in a darker moment of my life, and she really shaped me for the better.
Give unconditionally, laugh, love, freely be yourself with resolve to make the world a better place.

Thank you Ken for this wonderful memorial.

Thank you.