Four-time Emmy winner Tom Davis, partner of Al Franken in the comedy team of Franken and Davis and a longtime writer for “Saturday Night Live,” died Thursday in Hudson, N.Y., of throat and neck cancer. He was 59.
Davis and Franken were hired by Lorne Michaels to fill a single writer slot on the show in 1975, its first year on the air. Both appeared in a variety of sketches on the show as well. They developed what TV Guide called “a reputation for wit and political satire” for their work on “SNL.” They had falling out at one point but later reconciled (and Franken now serves in the U.S. Senate).
Davis was credited as a writer on 280 episodes of “SNL” through 2003 and made appearances on 148 episodes through 1995.
Davis and Franken were part of the writing team that won Emmys in 1976, 1977 and 1989 for episodes of “Saturday Night Live” and the team of writers who won in 1978 for NBC’s “The Paul Simon Special.” Davis was nominated nine more times for “Saturday Night Live.”
Davis also made appearances on the bigscreen. He and Franken penned and starred in the 1986 comedy “One More Saturday Night,” but it was far from the sort of clever fare for which they had become known. Earlier, they had memorably paired as a team of loopy baggage handlers in the comedy “Trading Places,” starring “SNL” alumni Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Davis also appeared in “SNL” skit adaptation “Coneheads” (he was also one of the writers), “Blues Brothers 2000” and 2001 comedy “Evolution.”
Thomas James Davis was born in Minneapolis, and he and Franken first teamed as comedy partners in high school. Davis attended the U. of the Pacific.
He shared a WGA Award in 2001 for the 1999 special “Saturday Night Live 25.”
Davis is survived by his wife, Mimi Raleigh; a brother; and his mother.