'Family Ties' creator Goldberg dies at 68

Story highlights

  • Gary David Goldberg, who created "Family Ties" and "Spin City," has died
  • He passed away Saturday at his home in Montecito, California
  • He died of a brain tumor; he was 68

Gary David Goldberg, the writer and producer who created classic TV comedies "Family Ties" and "Spin City," has died, CNN has confirmed. He was 68.

According to Goldberg's son-in-law, Rob Dubbin, Goldberg passed away at his Montecito, California, home on June 22, just three days shy of what would've been his 69th birthday. The cause was a brain tumor.

Goldberg, a Brooklyn native, collected seven Emmy nominations over the course of his career and won two of them. He picked up an outstanding drama series Emmy in 1979 for CBS' "Lou Grant," and an outstanding writing in a comedy series Emmy for "Family Ties" in 1987.

Goldberg contributed to "M*A*S*H," "The Tony Randall Show" and "The Bob Newhart Show" during the '70s before taking inspiration from his life and the lives of his friends to create "Family Ties."

The NBC sitcom, which became a defining series for the network during its seven season run from 1982 to 1989, centered on the cultural differences between a pair of liberal parents (Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross as Elyse and Steven Keaton) and their more conservative kids who were coming of age during the Reagan administration.

A young Michael J. Fox had a breakout role as the Keatons' son, Alex. Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers played his sisters, Mallory and Jennifer, while Brian Bonsall later joined the series as younger brother Andy.

Goldberg teamed up again with Fox in 1996 for the comedy "Spin City," which Goldberg co-created with Bill Lawrence.

Fox, now 52, said in a statement that it is with a "full heart" that he says "goodbye to my mentor, benefactor, partner, second father and beloved friend, Gary David Goldberg. He touched so many with his enormous talent and generous spirit. He changed my life profoundly. Love to [his wife] Diana and all of Gary's family."

Actress Courteney Cox, who played Lauren Miller on "Family Ties," also fondly remembers Goldberg as a supreme educator.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Gary David Goldberg's family," she tweeted Monday. "A wonderful man who taught me so much."

Charlie Sheen, who worked with Goldberg on "Spin City," echoed that gratitude in his tweet, calling Goldberg his "sitcom mentor" and a "genius." "He's the sole reason I have a TV career," Sheen wrote.

Goldberg, who also created the early '90s drama "Brooklyn Bridge," worked in film as well. He wrote the screenplays for 1989's "Dad," 1995's "Bye Bye Love" and 2005's "Must Love Dogs," all of which he also produced.

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