Tom Davis, who with partner Al Franken wrote some of the most popular and enduring skits in the early days of Saturday Night Live including (who could forget?) the Coneheads, died today after a battle with throat and neck cancer. He was 59. His wife, Mimi Raleigh, said Davis passed away at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley. Raleigh told AP that Davis and Franken, now a Democratic senator from Minnesota, “were two of the first (SNL) writers hired – with one salary”. Davis helped create the wacky family of extraterrestrials known as the Coneheads. He also collaborated with Dan Akroyd on an impersonation of Julia Child, in which the television chef cut herself and bled to death after grabbing a phone to dial 911, only to discover it’s a prop. In the early years of SNL, Davis and Franken also performed together. Davis won three Emmys for his writing on SNL. He won a fourth for The Paul Simon Special in 1977. Davis and Franken became lifelong friends after meeting at a suburban prep school in Minnesota. Their first big break was SNL in 1975. They stayed until 1980, then returned a few years later. Davis left the show for good in 1994. Davis kept his sense of humor to the end, writing an essay on his experiences with cancer and the coming end of his life: “I wake up in the morning, delighted to be waking up, read, write, feed the birds, watch sports on TV, accepting the fact that in the foreseeable future I will be a dead person.”
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