Gary David Goldberg: Creator of the hit sitcoms 'Family Ties' and 'Spin City'


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The Independent Online

Gary David Goldberg, who died on 22 June of a brain tumour a few days before his 69th birthday, created the 1980s hit sitcom Family Ties before expanding into feature films. His TV successes also included the comedy Spin City, which in 1996 reunited him with Family Ties star Michael J Fox as the deputy mayor of New York.

A more modest hit for Goldberg yet much-acclaimed, Brooklyn Bridge (1991-93) was a tender comedy based on his experiences growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Marion Ross starred as a character inspired by his grandmother. His films included Dad (1989), starring Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson, as well as Bye Bye Love (1995) and Must Love Dogs (2005), which he wrote as well as directed.

His dog Ubu contributed the name of his production company and was widely known from the onscreen credit where viewers heard the command, "Sit, Ubu, sit," then a bark.

Goldberg began his television career in the 1970s as a writer for series such as The Bob Newhart Show, and was a producer of Lou Grant. In 1982 Family Ties premiered on NBC, introducing Michael J Fox as a business-loving Young Republican son of left-wing baby boomers who were former hippies.

"Basically, those parents are me and Diana," Goldberg once said, referring to his wife, Diana Meehan, who survives him. The series became a huge hit, making Fox a star and Goldberg an important name behind the camera.