Dale McRaven, an Emmy-nominated television writer and a creator behind shows like “Perfect Strangers” and “Mork & Mindy,” died Sept. 5 at his home in Porter Ranch, Calif. due to lung cancer complications. He was 83.
McRaven’s death was confirmed to Variety by his son, David McRaven.
McRaven received nominations from both the Writers Guild of America Awards and the Primetime Emmys for his work writing on ABC’s “Mork & Mindy,” which he served as a co-creator of alongside Joe Glauberg and the late film director Garry Marshall, who he worked closely with throughout his career.
McRaven later created the popular ABC sitcom “Perfect Strangers,” which ran for eight seasons, until he left the show over creative differences. McRaven retired completely from film and television a few years after the series’ conclusion in 1993, instead pouring his focus into wildlife and landscape photography.
McRaven’s first job in entertainment came with NBC’s ’60s sitcom “The Joey Bishop Show.” He and fellow writer Carl Kleinschmidt were hired by Marshall in 1964, launching both men into prosperous television careers. Working out of an office on Sunset Boulevard, McRaven and Kleinschmidt collaborated on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” earning a shared win for best episodic comedy at the 1966 WGA Awards.
The pair also worked together on “The Odd Couple,” “Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C.,” “Good Morning World,” “That Girl” and “Hey, Landlord.”
In 1974, McRaven began to write and produce without Kleinschmidt’s collaboration. He served as a producer on the successful ABC sitcom “The Partridge Family.” He also wrote for “Angie” and “The Betty White Show” during this period.
At this time, McRaven also created and sold his first original show, “The Texas Wheelers” — a comedy about a deadbeat dad who settles in Arizona to take care of his kids after their mother passes. Although the series did not run for more than eight episodes, it remained McRaven’s most personal and passionate project, according to his son.
Born March 5, 1939 near the town of Pulaski, Ill., McRaven grew up in Arizona as one of six children. Following his retirement from film and television, McRaven dedicated himself to the arts, traveling the world, photographing wildlife and landscapes and posting digital exhibitions of his artwork to his personal website. He won two awards of merit at the Los Angeles Zoo’s Annual Photography contest.
“It is easy to be inspired and in awe of Dale and his accomplishments, from his writings, TV Producer career, amazing photography, wonderful Art, and to his triumphs over the hurdles of his health,” his niece, Grissyg Lizarraga, wrote in a 2014 blog post. “These are a few of the gold doubloons from Dale McRaven’s treasure chest of life.”
McRaven was buried at Turner & Stevens Live Oak Mortuary & Memorial Park in Monrovia, Calif. He is survived by his son, David; his daughter, Renee; his daughter-in-law, Ruth; his nieces and nephews; his grandchildren, Justin Davis, Matthew McRaven and Nefertina Lizárraga; as well as his pet yorkie, The Mighty Kong.