One of the most popular U.S. sitcoms in the 1980's was "Family Ties", the story of a suburban family in Columbus, Ohio. It was so popular that it is still globally syndicated today.
The parents were liberal political activists while their son Alex, played by Michael J. Fox was a conservative Republican who rejected their liberal values, which he debated and mocked. (Their two daughters took no interest in politics)
Filmed from 1982 to 1989, during the conservative Reagan presidency, the show comically dealt with many of the political issues of the day. Its creator, producer and lead writer was Gary David ("David") Goldberg, whose real life story was even more compelling.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 25th, 1944 to a postal worker father and a bookkeeper mother, David grew up in Brooklyn.
After high school, he dropped out of Brandeis University and later dropped out of Hofstra. Eventually, at age 30, he graduated from San Diego State University at an age when most people have long finished college and are into their careers.
Why was David delayed?
In 1969, David was a waiter at the Village Gate in New York where he met flight attendant Diana Meehan. Dropping out of conventional life, the two lived together as hippies and along with their dog Ubu, for 14 months hitch-hiked penniless around the world.
But the birth of Shana, the first of their two daughters meant they had parental responsibilities and had to make something more of themselves. They settled in Berkeley, California and started a day care center.
Two years later, they relocated to San Diego where one of David's instructors helped him get writing work in Hollywood. David wrote for television shows such as "The Bob Newhart Show," "Lou Grant," M*A*S*H* and for "The Tony Randall Show."
Gary David Goldberg
His success with these shows built his reputation in Hollywood and provided the opportunity for "Family Ties," which made him financially independent, and allowed him to focus on a body of work that made him proud.
When "Family Ties" filming ended, David created other shows, most notably "Spin City," co- created with Bill Lawrence, in which Michael J. Fox played a shrewd deputy mayor to a slow-witted New York City mayor.
"Spin City," filmed from 1996 to 2002, became a big success and syndicated as well worldwide.
David also produced and wrote or co-wrote movies "Dad," starring Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson, "Bye Bye Love," starring Paul Reiser, Matthew Modine and Randy Quaid and "Must Love Dogs", starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. "Dad" and "Must Love Dogs" he also directed.
Meanwhile in 1990 after a 21 year relationship and having become the parents of two daughters, he and Diana Meehan were married.
Both daughters followed their dad into show business. Shana Goldberg-Meehan among her projects co-produced and co-wrote the highly popular and globally syndicated sitcom "Friends," (1994-2004) with her husband Scott Silveri and others.
His other daughter Cailin Goldberg-Meehan is a screenwriter and her husband Robert Dubbin
writes for "The Colbert Report."
David passed away earlier the year, but as a result of a career he loved, David is survived not only by his family, but by his movies, television shows and by the millions of viewers around the world who enjoy them.