Gary David Goldberg, 'Family Ties' and 'Spin City' creator, dies at 68
Goldberg died Sunday (June 23) at his home in Montecito, Calif., near Santa Barbara, after fighting brain cancer. He would have turned 69 years old on Tuesday.
Goldberg began his TV writing career in the mid-1970s with scripts for "The Bob Newhart Show," "Alice" and "Phyllis." He won his first Emmy in 1979 as a producer of "Lou Grant," which took home the award for best drama series that year.
Three years later, "Family Ties" -- based in part on his own life and in part on those of friends -- premiered on NBC and made a star of Michael J. Fox. After moving behind "The Cosby Show" in 1984-85, it ranked in the Top 5 of the ratings for three straight seasons, peaking at better than 28 million viewers in Season 5. Goldberg won a writing Emmy on "Family Ties" in 1987; the series was nominated for best comedy four times.
Goldberg and Fox would collaborate again on "Spin City," which Goldberg co-created with Bill Lawrence. It ran on ABC from 1996-2002, the final two seasons with Charlie Sheen in the lead role after Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
"Everyone has a mentor (or two hopefully) that touches his/her life," Lawrence tweeted Sunday night. "Gary Goldberg passed away today. Wish I had thanked him more."
Goldberg's other credits include the short-lived but critically loved and Emmy-nominated "Brooklyn Bridge," "The Tony Randall Show" and "Battery Park." He also wrote and directed the feature film "Must Love Dogs," which was his final credit.
All of Goldberg's shows ended with the vanity card for his production company, Ubu Productions, named after his dog. The card featured a photo of Ubu and Goldberg saying "Sit, Ubu, sit -- good dog!" followed by a "Woof."
Goldberg is survived by his wife, Diana Meehan, and two daughters, writer and producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan ("Friends," "Better With You") and Cailin Goldberg-Meehan, a screenwriter.