Created 'anti-Cosby' show 'Married …' boosted young Fox
EmptyRon Leavitt, the veteran television writer who co-created the long-running sitcom "Married … With Children," died Feb. 10 from lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 60.
A native of Brooklyn, Leavitt began his television career in the 1970s writing episodes for the comedies "Busting Loose," "Happy Days," "Laverne & Shirley" and "The Bad News Bears" (for which he garnered an NAACP Award).
In the early 1980s, in addition to writing and producing "The Jeffersons" (for which he won a People's Choice Award and a second NAACP Award), Leavitt co-wrote the pilot for "Silver Spoons" and co-created and executive produced the Jason Bateman sitcom "It's Your Move."
In the late '80s, Leavitt co-created "Married …," which, with its debut on the Fox network in 1987, broke many of the established rules and mores of television as it helped put the fledgling network in the black.
"The Cosby Show," Bill Cosby's feel-good family sitcom on NBC, was TV's top-rated show when "Married …" debuted in April 1987. Leavitt and co- creator Michael G. Moye called the new series "the anti-Cosby."
The dysfunctional Bundy family was headed by the chauvinistic women's shoe salesman Al (Ed O'Neill) and his lascivious, anti-homemaker wife, Peggy (Katey Sagal). They were a far cry from Cosby's prosperous OB-GYN physician and his lawyer wife.
Leavitt served as executive producer and wrote or co-wrote close to 150 episodes of "Married … ." Its 11-season run made it the second-longest-running sitcom in Fox history, behind "The Simpsons."
"Married …" earned seven Emmy nominations and an equal number of Golden Globe nominations, including best TV Series.
Leavitt graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in journalism. He worked as a reporter in the Miami area before launching his TV career as a writer on 1977's "Busting Loose," starring Adam Arkin.
Leavitt and David Duclon, a "Busting Loose" producer, worked a season as supervising producers on "Laverne & Shirley" before joining "The Jeffersons" as co-executive producers; a season later, they took over as executive producers and show runners through 1982.