×

‘All in the Family,’ ‘Maude’ Writer Austin Kalish Dies at 95

Prolific comedy writer Austin Kalish, who with his wife Irma wrote landmark episodes of “Maude” and “All in the Family,” as well as the pilot for “Gilligan’s Island,” died early Wednesday. He was 95.

Kalish’s son, writer-producer Bruce Kalish, confirmed his death in a Facebook post Thursday. “He squeezed every bit of life he had out of his 95 years here on this planet,” Bruce Kalish wrote. “You may not have known him but you watched his shows.”

Austin “Rocky” Kalish and Irma Kalish wrote one of the most talked-about episodes of comedy in primetime history, the 1973 “Maude’s Choice” episode of the Bea Arthur comedy in which the titular character wrestles with the decision to have an abortion after an unexpected pregnancy. Airing in the same year that the Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the episode brought the polarizing issue squarely into America’s living rooms.

The couple penned four episodes of “All in the Family,” of which “Maude” was a spinoff. The pair were in demand throughout the 1960s and ’70s, working on such as shows as “My Favorite Martian,” “My Three Sons,” “Family Affair,” “F Troop,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Good Times,” “Too Close for Comfort,” and “The Facts of Life.” The couple co-wrote the pilot for “Gilligan’s Island” with Elroy Schwartz, brother of series producer Sherwood Schwartz, according to the Archive of American Television.

Married in 1948, Austin and Irma Kalish were collaborators for a half-century, starting out in radio and penning scripts for “The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Hour.” The Kalishs followed Martin and Lewis to television, which set them on course to prosper along with the new medium.

More TV

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

  • Carnival Row

    Amazon Debuts New 'Carnival Row' Footage at Comic-Con (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con attendees got an extended look at the upcoming Amazon drama “Carnival Row” during the show’s panel at the annual fanfest on Friday. Two new featurettes (see above and below) offer in-depth looks at the backstories of the two main characters — Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) and Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom). Delevigne plays [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content