Jane Milmore, a showrunner and Emmy-nominated writer who was a scribe on sitcoms including The Hughleys, Martin and The Wayans Bros, died Tuesday after a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 64.
A showrunner with more than 300 hours of TV comedy to her credit, Milmore created and developed shows for Brooke Shields, Don Rickles, Olympia Dukakis and the Wayans brothers and wrote and produced for Bob Newhart, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Lewis, John Goodman, Andrew Dice Clay and Martin Lawrence among others.
Milmore and her writing partner, Billy Van Zandt, were Emmy-nominated for 1990’s I Love Lucy: The Very First Show, and she won a People’s Choice Award and an NAACP Image Award for Martin and a Prism Award for The Hughleys. She co-created with Van Zandt Daddy Dearest, the 1993 sitcom starring Lewis and Rickles, and also appeared as an actress in more than a dozen TV shows.
Milmore and Van Zandt also wrote 23 plays, including the summer stock staple Love Sex and the I.R.S., and the Off Broadway comedies You’ve Got Hate Mail, Drop Dead! and The Boomer Boys Musical, which were published with Samuel French. The New York Times called the pair “masters of modern farce.”
Born on March 25, 1955 in Laramie, WY, she spent her childhood in Brooklyn and eventually made Rumson, NJ, her home, as well as Beverly Hills and Westlake Village, CA, where she was known for her sense of humor, great parties and a love of all things Irish.
She is survived by Emmy-winning director Shelley Jensen; four sisters; writing partner Van Zandt; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and godsons.
Celebrations of her life will be held in Los Angeles and in New Jersey in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in her name to some of her favorite organizations: Clean Ocean Action, American Red Cross, Holiday Express, Planned Parenthood and the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.