Bernie Kahn, a comedy writer-producer who penned more than 100 episodes of television including Bewitched, The Addams Family, Get Smart and Three’s Company, died April 21 at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, California. He was 90.
A spokesperson for his family confirmed the death.
Born on April 26, 1930, in Brooklyn, he began his showbiz career after a stint in the U.S. Army. His first job as a producer and writer was at NBC’s Monitor Radio. He later would join the Bob and Ray comedy radio show as a staff writer and was its last surviving original scribe. He also worked on a number of popular TV game shows in the early 1960s, including NBC’s Your First Impression, but the bulk of his work would be in sitcoms.
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Over the years, he wrote for such series as Get Smart, Maude, The Addams Family, The Love Boat, Tabitha, Three’s Company, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Partridge Family, The Lucy Show, Love American Style, James at 15 and more than a dozen episodes of Bewitched.
He also created the sitcom Joe & Valerie, which aired on NBC in 1978-79.
On the feature side, Kahn wrote The Barefoot Executive and Basic Training, while producing movies for television, including She Led Two Lives, Father & Son: Dangerous Relations and Fire in the Dark.
He earned two Writers Guild Award nominations for Get Smart! and My World and Welcome to It.
Kahn was also an accomplished swimmer, winning city and state championships in New York and later representing the United States overseas at the Maccabiah Games, where he won the 100 meter backstroke race and set a record that lasted for a decade. He went on to represent the U.S. again at the Pan American Games in Argentina, winning a bronze medal, and was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Kahn is survived by his wife, Elinor Berger; three daughters; two step-children; and five grandchildren. A memorial is being planned—a date has not yet been set—in Los Angeles. Donations in his memory can be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund by clicking here.
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