Comedy writer and producer Mickey Ross, an Emmy winner who worked on “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company,” died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke and heart attack. He was 89.
In the 1950s, Ross formed a comedy partnership with fellow City College of New York alumnus Bernie West (Class of ’39). They worked on “The Martha Raye Show” and there developed a relationship with Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin, the creators of the landmark “All in the Family” sitcom for CBS.
Ross was a writer, story editor and executive producer for 81 episodes of the show. He shared with West and Lee Kalcheim the 1973 Emmy for outstanding writing achievement in comedy for the episode “The Bunkers and the Swingers,” where Edith answers a magazine personal ad from a couple seeking new friends.
Ross and West also wrote for and executive produced “The Jeffersons,” the “All in the Family” spinoff about an African-American family movin’ on up, then wrote and produced episodes of another hit sitcom, ABC’s “Three’s Company.” Ross also directed a handful of episodes.
The pair also worked on two “Three’s Company” spinoffs, “The Ropers” and “Three’s a Crowd.”
A bomber pilot during World War II, Ross got his show business start in the 1950s directing shows at the Green Mansions resort in the Adirondacks, working with the likes of Don Adams, Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar. He had his television debut during that decade as a stager/director for “The Garry Moore Show.”
Last year, Ross created the Michael and Irene Ross Program in Jewish Studies at his alma mater and donated $4 million to endow an academic chair in Yiddish language and culture at UCLA. He also supported many animal-rights organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the Humane Society and Last Chance for Animals.
His wife Irene passed away in 2000. They had no children.
There will be a service for Ross at 11 a.m. Sunday at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.