Writer and artist Doris Kanter, widow of comedy writer-producer-director Hal Kanter, died on March 18 in Encino, Calif., after a brief illness. She was 95.
During the Kanters’ 70-year marriage, Doris helped her husband in writing and editing – mainly comedy– for television and film.
Having written several screenplays and episodes of television sitcoms including “Chico and the Man,” “Night Court,” “Valentine’s Day,” “You Can’t Take It With You” – and co-writing “United States” with Larry Gelbart, Doris became a member of the Writers Guild of America West in 1985. She helped guide the careers of several young writers.
A talented visual artist and calligrapher, Doris created traveling visual media exhibits with her mentor and teacher, artist Sister Mary Corita (Kent), and also designed the colorful opening title credits for her husband’s groundbreaking TV series “Julia.”
Doris was born in New York City. As 17-year-old high school graduate with an exceptional singing voice, she turned down an opera scholarship to Juilliard and enrolled in night classes at Hunter College while pursuing employment to help support her family. Although work was scarce in the midst of the Depression, Doris landed a job at Parents’ magazine. She was sent to the fashion department and given the task of running fashion shows at New York hotels. She also wrote a monthly feature on children’s fashion, in the process discovering her love and talent for writing.
Doris started dating Hal Kanter during her magazine days, and the pair married in 1941. He died in 2011.
Doris Kanter is survived by three daughters and a granddaughter.