One of the first writers for "Saturday Night Live," who helped create the show’s Coneheads, has died, reports The New York Times. Tom Davis was 59.
Davis’ cause of death was throat and neck cancer. Referring to death in the last few months of his life, he called it "deanimation," according to the story.
Davis’ writing partner was Al Franken, with the pair hired as two of the first writers for "SNL" in 1975, the story notes. The duo accepted a single salary of $350 a week from "SNL," and each singly was called "the guys."
With Franken and others, Davis created the alien family called the Coneheads, who told earthlings their strange habits were due to their coming from France. Davis also collaborated on Dan Aykroyd’s impersonation of Julia Child, in which the chef cuts herself but finds, when trying to call 911, that her phone is only a prop. She bids her audience "Bon appetit!” despite collapsing.
Davis made a "massive contribution” to the show, Aykroyd said Thursday. He described Davis as "very disciplined" and able to help less focused writers produce.
Davis shared three Emmys for his writing on "SNL," and another for 1977’s "The Paul Simon Special."
He met Franken as a teen when the pair attended the private Blake School. They would pepper their morning assembly announcements with sarcasm and soon after performed at a local comedy club.
Franken, now a Democratic senator from Minnesota, told The Times that he and Davis complemented each other, with Davis bringing improvisational experience to their partnership. Davis’ humor had a sardonic edge, but still kept a “sweetness and a Minnesota outlook," Franken noted.
Here’s a clip of Dan Aykroyd’s “French Chef”: