Gary David Goldberg, who created Michael J. Fox's TV vehicles 'Family Ties' and 'Spin City,' has died of brain cancer at his home in Montecito, Calif. He was 68 years old.
Goldberg began his career in front of the camera in 1972, staring as Scooterman in the Israeli program 'The Adventures of Scooterman.' Later that decade he switched to the other side of the camera and won his first Emmy for his work on CBS' 'Lou Grant.'
In the early '80s, Goldberg created 'Family Ties' and wanted it to air on CBS. However, the network turned it down and he ended up at NBC, after network entertainment chief Brandon Tartikoff picked it up. Goldberg later praised Tartikoff for its success, saying the late executive really "nurtured it and really made it happen."
'Family Ties' was largely autobiographical in concept for Goldberg, who said that his wife Diana "and I were the parents, and our daughter Shana was as smart as Alex but could shop with Mallory." Goldberg famously was not sold on Fox as Alex P. Keaton, but a second reading pushed him over the top - and helped create an enduring TV icon.
"The Republicans took Alex under their wing and made him the poster boy for the movement," Fox said in 2001. "At the same time social liberals were writing me letters saying, 'Way to go,' satirizing that point of view. So I was loved on both sides. It was one of those shows that just caught a time."
TV viewers likely remember the famous credit bit that his company, Ubu Productions, developed, which featured a picture of a black Labrador Retriever and Goldberg's voice saying “Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog."
In addition to the aforementioned shows, he also worked on 'The Bob Newhart Show' and 'M*A*S*H,' and directed the feature films 'Dad' and 'Must Love Dogs.'
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Goldberg.
What is your favorite 'Spin City'/'Family Ties' memory?