Bob Schiller, veteran ‘I Love Lucy’ writer, dies at 98
Bob Schiller, a comedy writer whose credits reach back to TV’s infancy, including “I Love Lucy,” and later, “Maude,” ″All in the Family” and “The Carol Burnett Show,” has died. He was 98.
Schiller died Tuesday in Pacific Palisades, California, according to his daughter, Sadie Novello.
He began writing for television in 1950, and three years later formed a partnership with Bob Weiskopf, with whom he collaborated for nearly a half-century. Among their hundreds of TV scripts was the classic “I Love Lucy” episode that found Lucy Ricardo stomping grapes.
Besides “I Love Lucy,” the team wrote for such 1950s sitcoms as “The Bob Cummings Show,” ″December Bride,” ″The Jimmy Durante Show” and “The Ann Sothern Show.”
Their partnership continued through the 1960s and ’70s with such shows as Lucille Ball’s follow-up comedy “The Lucy Show.” which they co-created, and “The Red Skelton Hour,” Flip Wilson’s variety show “Flip” and “Archie Bunker’s Place.”
Schiller had also written scripts for such classic radio series as “Duffy’s Tavern,” ″Abbott and Costello” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
He shared writing Emmys with Weiskopf for “All in the Family” and “Flip.”
When asked about the success and longevity of his partnership with Weiskopf, Schiller was known to respond, “That’s easy — we’ve never agreed on anything,” to which Weiskopf would fire back, “Yes, we have!” Weiskopf died in 2001.
Raised in Los Angeles, Schiller attended the University of California-Los Angeles, where he wrote a humor column for the school newspaper. He was drafted into the Army in 1940, and, deployed overseas, produced comedy variety shows for the troops.
After the war, Schiller took a job with the Rogers & Cowan public relations agency, whose clientele included a dentist for whom he wrote the billboard, “Visit your neighborhood friendly dentist. Come in before they come out.”
His writing career then evolved into radio. His first job after joining up with Weiskopf was a radio script for the “Our Miss Brooks” comedy show.
Schiller retired in 1988.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Sabrina, and four children, including director-filmmaker Tom Schiller. He was married to Joyce Harris from 1947 until her death in 1963.