It was a story you had to stumble upon this week to find. It didn’t get anything close to the media coverage of James Gandolfini’s death. But Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg, who passed away last weekend of brain cancer, is deserving of his own tribute. The Brooklyn native died three days shy of his 69th birthday at his Montecito, California home.
Goldberg grew up in Bensonhurst, played basketball at Lafayette High School, and attended Hofstra University briefly.
He got his degree at San Diego State University and success would follow on the West Coast.
His legacy is Family Ties, which help launch Michael J. Fox into superstardom as Alex P. Keaton, a protégé of President Reagan. The show aired during his administration from 1982 to 1989.
“While the show was funny and so with the times, who can forget his great production company Ubu Productions logo after each show? ‘Sit Ubu, Sit…good dog,’ will always be remembered and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that line,” Pavan Patel, SitcomsOnline director, tells Tuned In.
In the early 1970s, after a stint as a waiter at the Village Gate, Goldberg and his future wife Diana would travel the country nearly broke, the New York Times reports. Accompanying the duo was their dog, Ubu.
He won a pair of Emmys for writing, Lou Grant in 1979 and Family Ties in 1987.
Goldberg’s most autobiographical work was the critically acclaimed Brooklyn Bridge, which ran for two seasons in the early 1990s.
He returned to more mainstream fare with another Michael J. Fox vehicle, Spin City that ran from 1996 to 2002, although Charlie Sheen would take over the lead role late in the series run.
“Lightning rarely strikes twice in this business and especially with one of your former stars, but Goldberg was very lucky to do so,” Patel says. “But luck had nothing to do with it since he was an amazing writer and producer.”