The Late Gary David Goldberg, Manager Extraordinaire
Paul Solman catches up with his college chum, Gary Goldberg, the producer of the hit television series “Family Ties” in this 1988 segment on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Goldberg died last month.
On June 22, just shy of his 69th birthday, one of Hollywood’s most successful television practitioners — both professionally and emotionally — died of brain cancer. Here’s his obituary from the New York Times.
The creator of the TV series “Spin City,” “Brooklyn Bridge” and, most famously, “Family Ties,” Gary David Goldberg was many things: comedy writer, movie director, stunningly loyal friend and family man. But it was as an unfailingly loving manager in notoriously Janus-faced Hollywood that he was considered unusual to the point of anomalous.
I met Goldberg during our freshman year at Brandeis, where he starred on the basketball team while I wrote for the weekly newspaper. Our first point of conjunction was night stickball behind our dorm. He dropped out of school our sophomore year, bummed around Europe, lived in the caves of Greece, started a hippie day care center in Berkeley, California, took a course in TV script writing at San Diego State and was “discovered” by his teacher, who hooked him up with Mary Tyler Moore Productions in the mid-’70s.
He had risen to moderate eminence and won an Emmy as head writer of “The Lou Grant Show” by the time we reconnected, quite by chance, in 1980. He launched “Family Ties” in 1982, and by 1988, had cemented his reputation as that rarest of birds — the Hollywood mogul who was as spectacularly humane as he was successful. So I pitched him as a business story for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour as part of a West Coast trip and got the okay. The result was the April 4, 1988, segment “Family Man,” which you can watch above.
This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions