Blog Archives

Comedy Writer and Saturday Night Live Alum Tom Davis has Died

 

From the L.A. Times:

Franken & Davis on SNL

Davis died Thursday at his home in Hudson, N.Y., his wife, Mimi Raleigh, told the Associated Press. He had throat and neck cancer.

Classmates while growing up in Minneapolis, Davis and Franken developed stand-up routines in Minnesota and Los Angeles before landing the gig on “Saturday Night Live.” They wrote and performed on the show, creating the Coneheads characters and skits featuring Bill Murray‘s Nick the Lounge Singer.

As performers, Davis was the quiet one, overshadowed by the flashier Franken, who is now a Democratic senator from Minnesota. Davis told the AP in 2009: “If we were Sonny and Cher, he would be Cher.” The two had a falling out in 1990 but later reconciled.

Davis stayed with “SNL” from its first season until 1980, then returned for another run from 1985 to 1994 and again in 2002-03. He was among the “SNL” writers who shared Emmy Awards in 1976, ’77 and ’89. He won another writing Emmy in 1978 for a Paul Simon variety show.

 

William Hanley, Playwright and TV Writer, Dies at 80

 

William Hanley, who received critical acclaim as a Broadway and Off Broadway playwright in the 1960s and who later won Emmys for television scripts, died on May 25 at his home in Ridgefield, Conn. He was 80.

The cause was complications of a fall, his daughter Nell Hanley said.

“Remember the name William Hanley,” Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times in 1962, declaring Mr. Hanley “an uncommonly gifted writer.”

Mr. Taubman was reviewing two Off Broadway one-act plays by the playwright: “Whisper Into My Good Ear,” a portrait of two old men who share their loneliness living in a fleabag hotel and plan to commit suicide together; and “Mrs. Dally Has a Lover,” about a married woman and her romance with a teenager.

“His style is lean and laconic, shading almost shyly and unexpectedly into tenderness and poetry,” Mr. Taubman wrote. “His perception of character is fresh and individual.”

Those plays would earn a Drama Desk Award for Mr. Hanley in 1963. A year later his “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” opened on Broadway. Set in a shabby luncheonette in a desolate factory district in Brooklyn, “Slow Dance” tells of three strangers who bare their wounds over several hours: the storekeeper, who is a non-Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany; a schizophrenic black youth, who has an I.Q. of 187; and a teenage girl, who is searching for an abortionist.

“Slow Dance on the Killing Ground,” The New York Journal-American wrote in a profile of Mr. Hanley, “has been received by critics with the enthusiasm usually reserved for a Mary Martin musical.” But the accolades, and a Tony nomination, did not provide commercial success. “Slow Dance” ran for 88 performances; the Off Broadway plays had closed within a month.

– NY Times

Andy Rooney Dead at 92…

One of our favorite commentators has died of complications from surgery at age 92.

Andy Rooney, who delivered 1,097 commentaries on 60 Minutes beginning in July of 1978, worked right up to the end of his life, as his colleague Steve Kroft said:

“Andy always said he wanted to work until the day he died, and he managed to do it, save the last few weeks in the hospital.”

Rooney won 4 Emmy awards, one for a piece on whether there was a real Mrs. Smith who made Mrs. Smith’s Pies. As it turned out, there was no Mrs. Smith. His commentaries, however, were often marked as “complaints” beginning with the first one he did. He complained about people who keep track of how many people die in car accidents on holiday weekends. In fact, he said, the Fourth of July is “one of the safest weekends of the year to be going someplace.”

It was “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney,” his weekly 60 Minutes segment, that made him one of the most popular broadcast figures in the country.