Television comedy writer and producer, 1947-2001.
Born in West Barrington, RI, David Angell was considered to be one of 20th Century America's best and most successful telelvision comedy writers, winning multiple Emmy awards for Cheers and Frasier as well as co-creating Wings and Encore! Encore!.
Being a devout Catholic with a deep love for writing, he earned a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Providence College and entered the army, working at the Pentagon until 1972. He then moved to Boston and worked as a methods analyst for an engineering company and then at an insurance firm in Rhode Island before relocating to Los Angeles and selling his first script to the producers of Annie Flynn. Five years later and after having done virtually every temporary job known to mankind, he sold his second script, for Archie Bunker's Place.
He became a staff writer for the hit TV show Cheers in 1983, joining Peter Casey and David Lee as supervising producers and writers for the show in 1985 and collecting a series of Emmy awards and nominations along the way. Angell, Casey and Lee continued to work together under the name Grub Street Productions and together created Wings in 1990, a comedy set in the waiting room and lunch counter of a small airport near Boston, which brought a great deal of critical acclaim during its seven-season run on NBC.
"Six months ago I was living in Boston. My wife had left me, which was very painful, then she came back to me, which was excruciating."
- Dr. Frasier Crane, The Good Son
Frasier, first broadcast in 1993, evolved when he was approached along with his Grub Street partners to write a spin-off series based on the least likely of the Cheers clientele, Dr. Frasier Crane. Initially hesitant given the exceptionally poor track-record of spin-off shows, they managed to create a new life for the character in Seattle, as far away from Boston as possible to minimise the chances of old Cheers characters dropping in to visit.
The first episode, entitled The Good Son, won an Emmy for 'Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series' in 1994 and the show picked up a further Emmy award every year up to and including 1999 for 'Outstanding Comedy Series'. As well as the thirty-seven Emmy nominations and twenty-four Emmy awards he amassed on behalf of Frasier since its conception (shared with the rest of the writing and production team) the show also won a Golden Globe and the prestigious Peabody broadcasting prize.
Angell was killed with his wife Lynn, a volunteer librarian in a home for abused children, when the hijacked American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Centre on September 11th, 2001.
"He was a kind and gentle man with a quiet exterior that masked one of the sharpest comedy minds ever to write for television. His fingerprints are all over some of the funniest moments in Cheers, Wings and Frasier."
- joint statement by Peter Casey and David Lee, 12th September, 2001.