“All in the Family” writer-producer Bernie West died July 29 of Alzheimer’s-related complications in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 92.
A former Borscht Belt comedian and Broadway thesp, West with his writing partner Michael Ross offered Norman Lear a script for “All in the Family,” the groundbreaking sitcom starring Carroll O’Connor and Rob Reiner that tackled touchy subjects such as race relations. West and Ross also wrote Bea Arthur’s character Maude, who was spun off into another sitcom by CBS.
In addition to his work on the groundbreaking “Family,” West wrote for “Three’s Company” and “The Jeffersons” among a number of sitcoms through the ’70s and ’80s. He won a Primetime Emmy in 1973 for “All in the Family,” which he shared with Ross and colleague Lee Kalcheim. He was nommed for his work on “Three’s Company” as well.
Born Bernard Wessler, West began his showbiz career performing in USO shows during World War II and as a solo act in New York City.
He started a career on the stage in “Bells Are Ringing” on Broadway in 1956. He played Dr. Kitchell in the original production with Judy Holliday. Other memorable Rialto roles included “All American,” “The Beauty Part,” “Children From the Games” and “The Front Page.”
West was also known for his TV cameos, playing Marvin the Repairman in a 1972 episode of “All in the Family” and Bernie in 1986’s “What’s Happening Now!”
Later in life, West made charitable donations to the Los Angeles Free Clinic, including a $500,000 gift in 1997.
West’s wife, Mimi, died in 2004, and friend Ross in 2009. Survivors include two daughters and two grandsons.