Bob Carroll Jr. dies; 'Lucy' writer

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Bob Carroll Jr., a pioneering television writer who worked for three decades on many of Lucille Ball's TV shows, including every episode of "I Love Lucy," has died. He was 87.

Carroll died Saturday at his Laurel Canyon home in Los Angeles. He had been suffering health reversals due to old age for the past month, Madelyn Pugh Davis, his writing partner of more than 50 years, said Monday.

With Davis, Carroll also wrote and produced "Alice," which ran from 1976-85 on CBS, and won a Golden Globe. The duo also collaborated on the 1968 film "Yours, Mine and Ours," starring Ball and Henry Fonda; the Desi Arnaz-produced late-'60s sitcom "The Mothers-in-Law"; and TV specials that starred Dinah Shore and Debbie Reynolds.

Carroll was nominated twice for Emmy Awards.

"Working with Bob was great fun because we shared the same sense of humor," Davis said. "We never got into an argument about what we were going to do. All the pictures I have of us, I'm always laughing."

Carroll and Davis were working on comedian Steve Allen's radio show in the 1940s when they learned Ball was looking for writers for her radio show, "My Favorite Husband."

"They actually conned Steve Allen into writing his own show one week and took the time off to write a spec script for Lucy," longtime family friend and fellow TV writer Thomas Watson told the Associated Press. "CBS and Lucy loved it, and they became the first permanent writers on 'My Favorite Husband.' "

When the show moved to television in 1951, Ball brought her writers with her, changing the show's name to "I Love Lucy" and adding real-life husband Arnaz to the cast.

With Jess Oppenheimer, Carroll and Davis went on to work on all 179 episodes of the long-running show, Davis said, as well as many episodes of "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour," "The Lucy Show," "Here's Lucy" and "Life With Lucy." The latter show went off the air in 1986, three years before Ball's death.

Born Aug. 12, 1919 (some sources list 1918), in McKeesport, Pa., Carroll moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., with his family when he was 3. Soon after winning a scriptwriting contest as a teenager, he left for Los Angeles, where he landed a job as an usher with KNX radio. After a mailroom stint, he was promoted to the writing staff.

Married and divorced twice, Carroll is survived by a daughter, Christina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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