Phil Hahn, Emmy-Winning Original Writer on 'Laugh-In,' Dies at 87

Phil Hahn - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Joanne Dalsass

The variety show veteran also worked with Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie, Dolly Parton, Andy Williams and John Denver.

Phil Hahn, an Emmy-winning original writer on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In — who also penned jokes for Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie and Dolly Parton during his career — has died. He was 87.

Hahn died Sunday in Coos Bay, Oregon, his ex-wife, Joanne Dalsass, told The Hollywood Reporter. He was diagnosed with lung cancer just a few weeks ago.

Hahn wrote five episodes of Get Smart early in his career and worked on other TV comedies like Three's CompanyHead of the ClassPunky Brewster and Mama's Family.

After penning a 1965 episode for Dr. Kildare and writing for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and the 1967 Academy Awards, Hahn was hired by George Schlatter for the staff of NBC's Laugh-In, which premiered on Jan. 22, 1968.

Five months later, Hahn received his Emmy for outstanding writing in music or variety, sharing the honor with frequent writing partners Jack Hanrahan and Coslough Johnson, Chris Bearde, Paul Keyes, Marc London, Allan Manings, David Panich, Hugh Wedlock Jr. and Digby Wolfe.

He was nominated again for Laugh-In in 1969 (alongside Lorne Michaels and others) and served as a script supervisor on the show.

Hahn joined CBS' The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour for its second season in 1972 and stuck around for its 1974 conclusion, then rejoined the (now divorced) couple for The Sonny and Cher Show in 1976, writing and producing during its two seasons. He landed three more Emmy noms for those two programs, working alongside Steve Martin and Bob Einstein.

He also did Donny and Marie Osmond's ABC variety show for four seasons in the '70s and wrote for Parton's short-lived Dolly, also for ABC, in 1987-88.

Born on Aug. 21, 1932, in Bloomington, Kansas, Hahn attended Osborne High School and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1954. 

He worked for Hallmark Cards, published articles and cartoons in PlayboyEsquire and Mad magazines and wrote kids books with Hanrahan before being hired in the early 1960s by Hanna-Barbera. He worked for Fantastic Four and other cartoons during his stay there.

Hahn also wrote for programs toplined by Ken Berry, George Kirby, David Frost, Andy Williams, Soupy Sales, Ray Stevens, The Fifth Dimension, John Denver and Barbara Mandrell and served as head writer for the U.S. portion of the Live Aid Concert in 1985.

Survivors include his wife, Kathleen; their twin daughters, Karlie and Kelsie; and his granddaughter, Joanna.