‘I Love Lucy’ Co-Creator Dies

Jan 29, 2007  •  Post A Comment

“I Love Lucy” co-creator and writer Bob Carroll Jr. passed away Saturday in Los Angeles following a brief illness. He was 87.

Mr. Carroll created the pioneering, long-running CBS sitcom starring Lucille Ball and her then-husband Desi Arnaz with his longtime writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis and the show’s producer and head writer, Jess Oppenheimer, in 1951.

Mr. Carroll and Ms. Davis co-wrote every one of the half-hour series’ 180 episodes from 1951-57, either with Mr. Oppenheimer or with Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, who joined the writing staff in the show’s fifth season to help with the work load.

Mr. Carroll and Ms. Davis first worked with Mr. Oppenheimer and Ms. Ball on the CBS radio show “My Favorite Husband” beginning in 1948. It was that show that CBS originally intended to transfer to TV, but “I Love Lucy” was instead developed after Ms. Ball expressed her desire to star opposite her real-life husband Mr. Arnaz, a Cuban-born bandleader.

Mr. Carroll and Ms. Davis continued their association with Ms. Ball on her subsequent series “The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show” (1957-60) “The Lucy Show” (1962-68) “Here’s Lucy” (1968-74) and “Life With Lucy.” (1986)

Mr. Carroll joined the writing staff of CBS Radio in 1943. His radio credits include “The People Next Door,” “Meet the Missus,” “Hollywood Showcase With Hedda Hopper,” “The Bill Thompson Show,” “Montey Wolley” and “The Steve Allen Show.” He partnered with Ms. Davis in 1946.

About her writing partner of 60 years, Ms. Davis told TelevisionWeek Monday, “We had the same sense of humor. We really never argued about anything. People always ask where we got our ideas because we turned out so many scripts. We never liked to do off-color stuff. And we never used topical humor-thank God for that; we had no way of knowing we were going to last for 50 years.”

She added about the partnership, “I think Bob was funnier than I am. I was the more of the driver-and I did the typing.”

Mr. Carroll and Ms. Davis also created CBS half-hour “The Tom Ewell Show” (1960), created and co-wrote the Desi Arnaz-produced “The Mothers-in-Law” for NBC (1967-69), produced and co-wrote ABC’s “Mr. T and Tina” (1976), and executive produced CBS’s “Alice” (1977-85), “Private Benjamin” (1981-83) and “Dorothy” (1979).

He also worked with Ms. Davis on her autobiographical book, “Laughing With Lucy: My Life With America’s Leading Lady of Comedy,” published in 2005.

He is survived by a daughter, Christina. Services are pending.

(Editor: Grego)

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