'Family Ties' Creator Gary David Goldberg Dies

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  • Michael J. Fox
    (Photo: Reuters/Blair Gable)
    Actor Michael J. Fox (L) stands with Canada's Governor General David Johnston after he was awarded the rank of Officer in the Order of Canada at Rideau Hall in Ottawa May 27, 2011.
By Emma Koonse, Christian Post Reporter
June 24, 2013|11:53 am

Gary David Goldberg, who created the beloved television series "Family Ties," died at age 68 on Sunday.

The leading comedy television series of the 1980's launched Michael J. Fox into stardom, but Goldberg is also known for creating "Spin City" and for working on 1970's sitcoms such as "Lou Grant" and "The Tony Randall Show."

Goldberg died from brain cancer at his home in Montecito, Calif., his daughter Shana Silveri said, according to the New York Times.

In 1982, Goldberg built "Family Ties" using himself and his wife as the inspiration behind the hippie parents portrayed by Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter. The show followed the Keatons, a family in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

Among the four fictional Keaton children in the family was young Michael J. Fox who went on to assume a central role on the show and later earned widespread fame.

"Family Ties" covered both comedy as well as more serious issues about parenting and teenagers which could have contributed to its success.

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"I was interested in the dynamic of a couple that had been together long term, that were still very physically active and attracted to each other, a house where there was romance and where the parents' relationship to the kids reflected expanded lanes of communication and represented the ways families were changing," said Mr. Goldberg during an interview with the Archive of American Television in 2007.

Similar to "The Cosby Show" which began airing two years after "Family Ties," Goldberg said he wanted the sitcom to reveal capable and admirable parents.

"This father was not threatened by the growing power of his own children," he added. "They were trying to have a relationship that would continue into the future. His goal was not to show how he could control and coerce these kids. It was ruling by love. It was the power of love that kept everybody- and respect- which is more powerful than fear. I wanted to show those elements in a family."

Then, when "Family Ties" finished in 1989, Goldberg made his directorial debut with the film "Dad" starring Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson and Ethan Hawke.

The writer was also behind the screenplays for romantic comedies such as "Bye Bye Love" and "Must Love Dogs," which he directed.

On Twitter Monday, users were mourning the death of Goldberg.

"Family Ties meant everything to me as a teenager," wrote Andrew. "Still does! Thank you, Gary David Goldberg for the laughs and the welcome tears."

Scott added, "RIP Gary David Goldberg. As someone who watches an insane amount of tv he really left his mark #FamilyTies #BrooklynBridge #SpinCity"

Meanwhile, as "Family Ties" and "The Cosby Show" aired on NBC, both creators Goldberg and Bill Cosby also shed light on good parenting.

Cosby recently opened up about onscreen parenting using his experience portraying Dr. Huxtable on the famed series.

"I based the series on two important things: Number one… I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb," said Cosby speaking to ABC News.

"Number two was that I wanted to 'take the house back,'" he added, meaning he no longer wanted to perpetuate bad parenting.

"[We] parents make it difficult," said the actor. "Because we want to be well-liked. And I'm not saying that parenting, you shouldn't want to be well-liked, but you also have to have some kind of judgment."

 

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