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Bernard “Bud” Wiser, a writer and producer on such shows as All in the Family, One Day at a Time and Who’s the Boss?, has died. He was 87.
Wiser died Sunday surrounded by his family at his home in Studio City, his daughter-in-law, Callie Wiser, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Wiser began his career in network television as a producer, writer and director at David L. Wolper Productions, for which he traveled the globe producing National Geographic specials.
After writing two episodes of Norman Lear’s All In the Family — “Gloria’s Boyfriend” in 1974 and “Prisoner in the House” in 1975 — Wiser jumped to One Day at a Time, another famed Lear comedy at CBS, where he penned 25 episodes and served as a producer for six seasons on the Bonnie Franklin show through 1983.
Wiser then wrote for and was a supervising producer on ABC’s Who’s the Boss?, starring Tony Danza, then worked as a writer and producer on the syndicated series The New Lassie.
Earlier, Wiser wrote episodes of such shows as Chico and the Man, Rhoda, Charles in Charge, Growing Pains, Dear John and Brooklyn Bridge.
He also wrote several pilots, including one for the short-lived ABC series Semi-Tough; developed a series for Alan Alda, The Four Seasons, that ran on CBS for a season; and for two years was head of comedy development for The Landsburg Co.
Born on May 20, 1929, in Rochester, N.Y., Wiser attended Aquinas High School and the University of Buffalo, then received his masters from Syracuse University.
He served as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy and hosted a morning TV show called Shooting the Breeze, about Navy news in San Francisco. While in the service, Wiser won a contest and performed a comedy routine on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1955.
For Wolper, he worked on such documentaries as Journey to the High Arctic, The Untamed World and Bushmen of the Kalahari and received an Emmy nomination for writing 1969’s Siberia, The Endless Horizon.
Wiser also did ABC specials about Jane Goodall and Jacques Cousteau and produced documentaries for A&E and the History Channel.
Making the transition from serious documentaries to network comedies was unusual, to say the least. “When I went to write my first All in the Family,” he recalled, “John Rich was the producer and he said, ‘What makes you think can write comedy? You write the National Geographic Specials.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t write all of the National Geographic Specials, I just write the funny ones.'”
Survivors also include his wife of 42 years, producer Christine Z. Wiser, whom he met when both worked for Wolper; son Mike Wiser, a producer and writer on the PBS series Frontline; and grandchildren Davis and Leigh.
His family said that one of his favorite stories to tell was about his first date with Christine. That encounter would become a two-part episode of One Day at a Time in 1981 called “Dinner at Seven” that Wiser said captured their date “word for word.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Aquinas Institute of Rochester. A funeral service will take place on Thursday at 1 p.m. at Holy Cross Mortuary in Culver City.
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