Veteran comedy showrunner David Richardson passed away today, Jan. 18, from heart failure. He celebrated his 65th birthday on Christmas Eve.
A nearly 30-year cancer survivor, Richardson started his TV comedy writing career in 1985 on Michael Leeson/Carsey-Werner’s NBC series Grand, starring Pamela Red and Bonnie Hunt. He spent two seasons on the sitcom Empty Nest before segueing to animation with a stint on The Simpsons.
Richardson went on to work on a numerous live-action TV comedies. While on the staff of Witt-Thomas’s The John Larroquette Show, he won a Humanitas Prize for his episode “Faith.” Richardson spent three seasons on Two and a Half Men and also wrote and produced for Malcolm in the Middle, 8 Simple Rules, Phenom, Ed and What About Joan, starring Joan Cusack and Kyle Chandler, on which he served as showrunner.
During his career, Richardson developed and executive produced many pilots and created and executive produced Manhattan, AZ, which ran on USA for two seasons.
Richardson returned to animation with the Bill Burr- and Michael Price-created F Is For Family, which he joined at the start as co-executive producer, rising to executive producer in Season 3.
“I first met David in 2000 when he was my boss on What About Joan, and I never forgot how great he was as a writer, a show runner, and a friend,” said Price, co-creator, exec producer and showrunner of F Is For Family. “When I had the chance to become a showrunner myself on F Is For Family, he was the first person I called to add to the staff. From day one of the show he was my right hand — always pitching great jokes, masterful with story, and just a great, great guy. His fingerprints are on every frame of our show, and his loss is immeasurable to me.”
Richardson is survived by his wife, Charleen Easton Richardson; their twin 12-year-old boys, Arlo and Atticus; son Wayne, from a previous marriage; daughter-in-law Kelsey; grandson Banks and granddaughter Harper; brother Jeff Richardson and sister Susan Benson; and several nieces and nephews, not to mention the many people whose lives he touched over the span of his long career in entertainment.
The family is planning a private ceremony. A public celebration of Richardson’s life will take place at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.