Gary David Goldberg, creator of Family Ties and Brooklyn Bridge and co-creator of Spin City, died early this morning at his house in Montecito, CA after a long battle with brain cancer. He passed away two days before his 69th birthday.
Goldberg, who was born in Brooklyn, NY, used his personal life as inspiration for hit Family Ties, in which he based the parents on himself and his wife, and for Brooklyn Bridge, in which he payed homage to his grandmother Jenny. Earlier in his TV career, which spans three decades, Goldberg worked on The Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H* and Lou Grant. He won two Emmy Awards, one for Family Ties and one for Lou Grant, two Golden Globes, two WGA Awards, six Humanitas Prizes and a Peabody.
In 1995, then-27-year-old Bill Lawrence got his first shot at his own show, co-creating Spin City with Goldberg. “Everyone has a mentor (or two hopefully) that touches his/her life,” Lawrence wrote on Twitter. “Gary Goldberg passed away today. Wish I had thanked him more.“
On two of his series, Family Ties and Spin City, Goldberg worked with actor Michael J. Fox. Both shows delivered blockbuster ratings, with the Family Ties series finale ranking among the Top 10 series finales of all time with 36.3 million viewers and Fox’s farewell episode on Spin City bringing in 32.8 million viewers, one of the largest audiences for a series this century.
Goldberg was as committed to his craft as he was to families. In 1985, when Family Ties was at its peak and Goldberg could ask for anything to renew his contract with producer Paramount Television, he asked for a childcare center on the lot for working parents, something that was a rarity back then. Goldberg also supported his wife, Dr. Diana Meehan, who co-founded the Archer School For Girls in Brentwood. Goldberg is survived by his wife, with whom he had been together for 43 years; and two grown-up daughters who are following in their father’s footsteps with careers in TV writing, former Friends executive producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Cailin Goldberg-Meehan.