Television Writer David Lloyd Dies At 75

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One of television's most successful comedy writers, David Lloyd, died this week. He was 75. Lloyd wrote for Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett. He penned episodes of Cheers, Taxi, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, Wings and Frasier. But his most memorable work may have been on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. An episode he wrote called "Chuckles Bites the Dust" was cited by TV Guide as the funniest sitcom episode ever.

GUY RAZ, host:

David Lloyd may have gotten a good laugh out of the 2012 conspiracy theories. He certainly made others laugh. But few people ever knew it was David Lloyd behind the jokes. He was a television write who worked on some of the classic sitcoms of the 1970s and '80s, among them "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Rhoda," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi," "Cheers" and "Wings." David Lloyd died on Friday of prostate cancer. He was 75.

Lloyd started his career writing for Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett, but his most famous work was for Mary Tyler Moore. He won an Emmy for an episode TV Guide has called one of the five best in television history. It's called "Chuckles Bites the Dust."

In the scene you're about to hear, Lou Grant, the newsroom boss, run into the studio to deliver some late-breaking news to anchorman Ted Baxter.

(Soundbite of television program, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show")

Mr.�ED ASNER (Actor): (As Lou Grant) Listen very closely. Chuckles the Clown was just killed. He was dressed as a peanut and an elephant crushed him.

Mr.�TED KNIGHT: (As Ted Baxter) Stop trying to cheer me up, Lou.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Lou) Yes, its funny, but thats in bad taste.

Mr. ASNER: It's not a joke.

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) You mean it?

Mr.�ASNER: (As Lou) Yes.

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) Good Lord.

Mr.�ASNER: (As Lou) And now, listen. Murray is working on a formal obituary for tomorrow. You go on now and you'll just have to ad lib something.

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) What will I say? I hardly know the man.

Mr.�ASNER: (As Lou) Well, sure you did. You knew him. You were on his show.

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) Well, it's hard to know a man who's chasing you around with a rubber chicken.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�ASNER: (As Lou) Ted, just say something short and simple and warm. You can do it. We're counting on you.

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) Don't worry, I won't let you down. Ladies and gentlemen, sad news. One of our most beloved entertainers and a close, personal friend of mine is dead. Chuckles the Clown died today from

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) He died a broken man.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) Chuckles leaves a wife, at least I assume he was married. He didn't seem like the other kind.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) I don't know his age; therefore, I guess he was probably in his early 60s. It's kind of hard to judge a guy's face, especially when he's wearing big lips and a light bulb for a nose.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) But he had his whole life in front of him, except for the 60-some-odd years he already lived.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) I remember Chuckles used to recite a poem at the end of each program. It was called "The Credo of a Clown," and I'd like to offer it now in his memory.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) It's a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) That's what it's all about, folks. That's what he stood for. That's what gave his life meaning. Chuckles liked to make people laugh. You know what I'd like to think? I'd like to think that somewhere up there tonight, in his honor, a choir of angels is sitting on whoopee cushions.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr.�KNIGHT: (As Ted) This is Ted Baxter saying goodnight and good news.

RAZ: The man behind this and many other classic episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," David Lloyd, died on Friday.

(Soundbite of music)

RAZ: And that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Have a great week.

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