Gary Menteer, Writer, Director and Producer on TV's 'Family Matters,' Dies at 76

Courtesy of Forrest Lawn
Gary Menteer

He was in the original cast of Broadway’s 'Music Man' and later worked on 'Happy Days,' 'Laverne & Shirley' and 'Punky Brewster.'

Gary Menteer, a writer, director and producer for the long-running sitcom Family Matters, has died. He was 76.

Menteer, a former actor and choreographer who worked often with famed TV producer Garry Marshall, died Jan. 18 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., his husband, Joseph Cvar, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Menteer served as a choreographer and associate producer on the short-lived 1977 ABC comedy Blansky’s Beauties, co-created by Marshall, and also wrote, directed and/or produced for such other Marshall shows as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Menteer went on to write, direct and produce for NBC’s Punky Brewster before going to work on Family Matters, which starred Jaleel White as the nerdy Steve Urkel. The series lasted nine seasons, airing on ABC and CBS from 1989 through 1998.

At age 16, the Texas native moved to New York and landed a role as a resident of River City in the original 1957 Broadway production of The Music Man. He later was chosen by Desilu Studios to train in Hollywood.

Menteer appeared in such musical films as Bye Bye Birdie (1963), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), Mary Poppins (1964), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Finian’s Rainbow (1968), Hello, Dolly (1969) and Funny Lady (1975).

He also did choreography or appeared on musical variety shows hosted by Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Dean Martin and Julie Andrews.

In addition to his husband, survivors include his nephews and nieces David, Lisa, Diana, Lauri and Tara.

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