Monday, February 11, 2008

In Memory Of Ron Leavitt ~ Sorry James, Not Today



I was planning on writing about my good friend James Mitchell ~ that's him in the photo ~ but when I saw the Miami Herald this morning there was an obituary for another guy, also a good friend, who'd sat in this same living room many times back around 1970. Ron Leavitt was a reporter for the local weekly, the North Dade Journal and I was the photographer. Jim Kukar, still a close friend, was the editor. Everytime I drive down Memorial Highway (now such a fitting name) past the apartment building where Ron lived back then, I think of all the parties he threw, the good times we had, the assignments we covered together. I always carry an extra pen or two as well as a notebook because of Ron. When we'd get to the location the first thing Ron would say was "Hey Al, you don't happen to have a pen with you do you?" as he patted his pockets, then it was "got any paper, by chance"? Every damned time, without fail.

Then one day he announced that he was going to California and try to break in to the TV writing thing. Everybody wished him well. He packed up and was gone. Frankly, it was to everyone's surprise when his name actually started appearing in the occasional credit. Then he sold the concept of Married With Children. He co-wrote it, he produced it, and it was a huge success. I'm going to take the liberty of just running the Herald's obit, (c) the Miami Herald of course, because a rewrite wouldn't really be more than just rearranging the same words.

RON LEAVITT, 60
Creator of `Married With Children'
Posted on Mon, Feb. 11, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- (AP) -- Ron Leavitt, who co-created the sitcom Married With Children, has died Sunday. He was 60.
Leavitt died of lung cancer at his Sherman Oaks home surrounded by his children, said his fiancée, the model and actress Jessica Hahn.
Leavitt was best known for teaming up with Michael G. Moye to create Married With Children, a sitcom about the luckless shoe salesman Al Bundy and his dysfunctional family.
Married With Children ran on the Fox network from 1987 to 1997 and became the network's second-longest running sitcom behind The Simpsons. Leavitt served as the show's executive producer and helped write nearly 150 episodes.
Leavitt broke into TV in the 1970s writing episodes of Busting Loose, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and The Bad News Bears. In the 1980s, Leavitt had a stint as a producer of The Jeffersons.

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