Prolific television writer Gary David Goldberg has passed away at the age of 68 after a battle with brain cancer, according to Variety. Goldberg got his first TV writing job on The Bob Newhart Show in 1976. After that, he wrote on series like M*A*S*H, Phyllis,The Tony Randall Show, and Lou Grant before getting the chance in 1982 to create his own show, Family Ties, which ran for sevens seasons on NBC. Family Ties made a young Michael J. Fox into a star and became a hit during its third season when paired with The Cosby Show, kicking off NBC’s long-running “Must See TV” lineup.
Goldberg created another long-running sitcom starring Michael J. Fox, Spin City, with co-creator Bill Lawrence, who would go on to become an influential TV writer in his own right. Spin City debuted in 1996 and ran for six seasons. All of the shows Goldberg produced featured the closing credit card for his TV company, Ubu Productions, with a photo of his labrador retriever Ubu onscreen while he said “Sit, Ubu, sit… Good dog.” Sit, Ubu, Sit was also the title of Goldberg’s 2008 autobiography.
In addition to his work on those two series, Goldberg directed movies like Dad, starring Ted Danson and Jack Lemmon, and Must Love Dogs, starring John Cusack and Diane Lane. While Family Ties and Spin City are his most well-known shows, Brooklyn Bridge, a critically-acclaimed series Goldberg created that ran for two seasons in the early ‘90s on CBS, was his most personal as it was based on his time growing up in the New York borough in the ‘50s. Throughout his career, Gary David Goldberg’s TV work earned him two Emmys, a Peabody, three Humanitas Awards, a Producers Guild Award, and two Writers Guild Awards, among countless nominations. He is survived by his wife Meehan, a producer, author, and professor, and daughter Shana, who was a showrunner on Friends, and Cailin, a freelance writer who has contributed to The Huffington Post.