Dale McRaven, the Emmy-nominated comedy writer and producer who Mork & Mindy with Garry Marshall and then the long-running Perfect Strangers alone, passed away. He was 83.
McRaven died on September 5 of complications from lung cancer at his home in Porter Ranch, California, his son, David McRaven, told The Hollywood Reporter.
McRaven was also the writer of the fifth and final season of CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show and as a writer-producer on ABC’s The partridge family during the run of that 1970-74 musical comedy. In addition, he and Marshall created the 1979-80 ABC sitcom Angiewith Donna Pescow and Robert Hays.
Perfect Strangersof Miller-Boyett Productions and Lorimar Television, debuted in March 1986 and starred Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot as mismatched cousins - one American, the other from the fictional island of Mypos – living together in an apartment in Chicago .
Amid creative differences, McRaven dropped out of the day-to-day production of the series after a few years, but continued to submit script notes as Perfect Strangers ran for eight seasons and 150 episodes.
In the mid-1990s, he retired from show business and took up photography and digital art.
Dale Keith McRaven, the fifth of six children, was born on March 5, 1939, on a farm near Pulaski, Illinois. He grew up in Chicago and Phoenix before coming to Hollywood in 1957 and selling his first script to Steve Allen.
In 1964, he was hired by Marshall and paired with Carl Kleinschmidt as a staff writer for the fourth and final season of NBC’s The Joey Bishop Show. A year later, producer Sheldon Leonard brought the pair to The Dick Van Dyke Showand they received a WGA award.
McRaven and Kleinschmidt prescribed Gomer Pyle: USMC, that girl, hey host, The special couple and Good morning World, sharing an office on Sunset Boulevard with Marshall and Jerry Belson and another writing team, Jim Parker and Arnold Margolin. Every five years they would gather to have lunch and take a photo before their ancient digs.
After breaking up with Kleinschmidt, McRaven wrote and produced The partridge family while also producing albums by the “band” consisting of castmates Shirley Jones, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce and Susan Dey.
In 1974 he came up with ABC’s The Texas Wheelers, an MTM Enterprises sitcom about a lazy father (Jack Elam) who returns to care for his children (two of them played by Gary Busey and Mark Hamill) after mother dies. Filmed without a laugh track, it only lasted eight episodes, but was said to be his favorite show of those he made.
Marshall had to convince McRaven to go with him Mork & Mindya spin-off from Happy Days starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber and ran for four seasons, from September 1978 to May 1982. (Joe Glauberg was also a co-creator of the series.)
McRaven shared an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1979 for his work on the show, but lost to ABC Cab.
His resume also included writing for get smart, Room 222, Love, American style and The Betty White Show.
In addition to his son, there are also his daughter Renee; daughter-in-law Ruth; grandchildren Justin and Matthew; and niece Grissy, her husband, Dismas, and their daughter, Nefertina.