Earl Pomerantz, a prolific TV writer whose credits include episodes of such popular sitcoms as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi and Sanford & Son who also developed and exec produced the 1990s Gerald McRaney comedy Major Dad, died Saturday, March 7. He was 75.
His death was announced by his friend, TV writer Ken Levine, who said Pomerantz died at UCLA Medical Center. No cause of death was announced, but Pomerantz’s health had been in serious decline for five weeks, according to Levine.
Pomerantz won two Emmy Awards, the first in 1976 as part of the writing team for The Lily Tomlin Special and another in 1985 for The Cosby Show. He was nominated four other times, for Lily (1975), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1977), a second 1985 episode of The Cosby Show and in 1997 for The Larry Sanders Show.
In addition to script writing, Pomerantz was created and executive produced 1981’s Best of the West, was a co-executive producer in 1984 of The Cosby Show and a consulting producer on The Larry Sanders Show, among other producing credits.
In the blog tribute, Levine, whose many writing credits include Cheers, Frasier, Becker, M*A*S*H and Wings, described Pomerantz as “a very different type of comedy writer. His humor came from celebrating humanity and pointing out the silly absurd things we all do and can relate to. He was never mean spirited. I don’t think he could write a real put down joke. Shows that derived laughs out of humiliation held no interest for him. Earl believed that comedy was meant to provide joy.”
Canadian by birth and a naturalized U.S. citizen, Pomerantz also wrote for the Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoffs Rhoda and Phyllis, as well as The Tony Randall Show, Newhart, The Associates and The Betty White Show.
Pomerantz is survived by wife Myra, daughters Anna Pomerantz and Rachel Braude, brother Hart, and three grandchildren. A service is planned for Thursday at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
On his own blog called “Just Thinking,” Pomerantz posted what would be his farewell message on January 29. Titled “Intermission,” the entry reads, “Troubling eye problem. Can’t write. Be back when I can. In the meantime, thanks for the company. I’ve never had more fun writing. So long. And as The Cisco Kid used to say, “See you soon, Ha!”
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