Dale McRaven, Creator of ‘Mork & Mindy’ and ‘Perfect Strangers,’ Dies at 83
Dale McRaven was an Emmy-nominated comedian writer and producer who created Mork and Mindy together with Garry Marshall , and then the long-running Perfect Strangers by himself. He was 83.
McRaven passed away Sept. 5 from complications from lung cancer. His son, David McRaven, reported The Hollywood Reporter .
McRaven also served as a writer on the fifth and final season of CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show and as a writer-producer on ABC’s The Partridge Family during that musical comedy’s 1970-74 run. Plus, he and Marshall created the 1979-80 ABC sitcom Angie, starring Donna Pescow and Robert Hays.
Perfect Strangers, from Miller-Boyett Productions and Lorimar Television, debuted in March 1986 and starred Mark Linn-Baker and Bronson Pinchot as mismatched cousins — one an American, the other from the fictional island of Mypos — who live together in a Chicago apartment.
Amid creative differences, McRaven stepped away from daily production of the series after a couple years but continued to send in script notes as Perfect Strangers ran for eight seasons and 150 episodes.
He retired from show business in the mid-1990s, then took up photography and digital art.
The fifth of six children, Dale Keith McRaven was born on March 5, 1939, on a farm near Pulaski, Illinois. He was raised in Chicago and Phoenix before he came to Hollywood in 1957 and sold his first script to Steve Allen.
In 1964, he was hired by Marshall and paired with Carl Kleinschmidt as a staff writer on the fourth and last season of NBC’s The Joey Bishop Show. One year later, Sheldon Leonard, a producer, brought the pair to The Dick Van Dyke Show , where they were presented with a WGA award.
McRaven & Kleinschmidt wrote Gomer Python: USMC , That Girl Hey Landlord The Odd Couple & , Sharing an office on Sunset Boulevard, with Marshall and Jerry Belson, and another writing team, Jim Parker & Arnold Margolin. They would meet up every five years to have lunch and take photos in front of their old digs.
In 1974, he came up with ABC’s The Texas Wheelers, an MTM Enterprises sitcom about a lazy father (Jack Elam) who returns to take care of his kids (two of them were played by Gary Busey and Mark Hamill) after mom dies. It lasted eight episodes and was his favorite of all the shows he created.
Marshall had to convince McRaven to join him on Mork & Mindy, a spinoff of Happy Days that starred Robin Williams and Pam Dawber and ran for four seasons, from September 1978 through May 1982. The series was also created by Joe Glauberg. )
McRaven shared an Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series in 1979 for his work on the show but lost out to ABC’s Taxi.
His resume also included writing for Get Smart, Room 222, Love, American Style and The Betty White Show.
His son was also survived by his daughter Renee, his daughter-in-law Ruth, his grandchildren Justin and Matthew, and his niece Grissy, her husband Dismassy, and their daughter Nefertina.