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David Lloyd, who won an Emmy for writing the “Chuckles Bites the Dust” episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” died Tuesday of prostate cancer at his Beverly Hills home, his son, writer-producer Christopher Lloyd, told the Los Angeles TImes. He was 75.
Lloyd, who worked on “The Tonight Show” and “The Dick Cavett Show” in the 1960s and early ’70s, began writing for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1973-74 season and went on to pen 31 episodes.
He’s best known for 1975’s “Chuckles Bites the Dust,” where WJM-TV’s longtime kids’ show host, Chuckles the Clown, is crushed to death by an elephant while dressed as a peanut leading the circus parade.
While producer Mary Richards (Moore) maintains her composure, the rest of the WJM newsroom crew crack jokes about the death.
At the funeral, Richards breaks out in laughter as the minister delivers his eulogy. The minister tells the mortified Richards that laughter was actually in keeping with Chuckles’ wishes and urges her to continue her laughter, but she suddenly breaks into uncontrollable crying.
In 1997, TV Guide chose “Chuckles” as the greatest episode in TV history.
Lloyd won a second Emmy in 1977 as one of the writers for the final episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and a third in 1998 when “Frasier” was honored as best comedy series.
Lloyd also received Emmy noms for writing episodes of “Rhoda,” “Taxi” and “Cheers” and worked on other such series as “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Lou Grant,” “Brothers” and “Wings.”
In 2001, he received the WGA’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television.
Survivors include his sons, Christopher, now an executive producer of the ABC freshman comedy “Modern Family,” and Stephen, a producer on CBS veteran sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”
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