David Davis Dies: ‘The Bob Newhart Show’, ‘Taxi’ Writer Was 86

By | November 7, 2022

David Davis, the veteran comedian who co-wrote the indelible comedies “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Taxi,” died Nov. 4 in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old.

Davis’ death was confirmed Saturday by his daughter, Samantha Davis-Friedman. Also surviving is his wife of decades, “Rhoda” star Julie Kavner, now known as the voice of Marge Simpson.

Davis was known for his work in the MTM Television stable. In addition to helping create two Hall of Fame sitcoms, he wrote for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda.” In the year After retiring from writing in 1979, Davis worked as a consultant on TV and film projects, including the ABC TV series “Phenom” and directed such features as 1987’s “Broadcasting News” and the 1983 Oscar-winning “Terms of Endearment.”

In the year Born in Brooklyn in 1936, Davis got his start in TV as a script supervisor on such comedies as “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” and the pilot of “Gilligan’s Island” in the early 1960s. In the year He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s, joining producers on such series as “The Mother Car” (often cited as the pinnacle of silly ’60s sitcoms) and “Him and Her,” a short-lived but highly influential 1967 Richard Benjamin and Romantic comedy series starring Paula Prentice.

Davis for the memorable title shot of “The Bob Newhart Show,” which highlights Chicago’s postmodern construction boom in the early 1970s. It also featured the memorable 1974 “Rhoda’s Wedding” episode of the “Mary Tyler Moore” spinoff “Rhoda” in New York City where Valerie Harper competes in a wedding dress.

Davis co-created “The Bob Newhart Show” for Newhart, who was a well-established comedic voice at the time. The series ran from 1972 to 1978 on CBS. Davis followed that up with “Taxi,” which aired from 1978 to 1983 (first on ABC and last season on NBC). The acclaimed series was co-created by Davis with MTM writer/producer/directors James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger.

In addition to Kavner and Davis-Friedman, Davis is survived by daughter Abigail Davis Smith, son-in-law Steve Smith; and five grandchildren, Joshua Friedman, Jacob Friedman, Aden Smith, Asher Smith and Elijah Smith.

Category: tv

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