Alan Kirschenbaum, co-creator of the sitcom Yes, Dear for CBS, who also had a midseason sitcom readying to debut on CBS in early 2013 called Friend Me, died on Friday. He was only 51.
Kirschenbaum’s father is Freddie Roman, dean of the Friars Club.
Kirschenbaum also was a consulting producer on Raising Hope and My Name is Earl, two projects that kept him tied to Greg Garcia. Garcia, who co-created Yes, Dear with Kirschenbaum, shared this photo of them (below) on the set with Mike O’Malley, along with these words:
“This was who Alan was. Always making me laugh harder than anyone else could. I hope somewhere Alan is telling a joke and God is doing a spit take but for those of us he left behind, we’re devastated.”
Jay Kogen, a writer and producer on The Simpsons, Frasier and Malcolm in the Middle, wrote:
“Alan’s dad and my dad had worked with each other and I had a vague memory of waiting in his driveway in while my dad delivered jokes to Freddie Roman. Meeting him years later, he felt more like my brother than just a pal. We had similar stories and lives. He remembered all great jokes and the great stories of life and particularly show business. He was always entertaining at a lunch and always held court in the writer’s room. But he was a guy I could talk personally with too and he was able to hear without judgement or too many jokes. I went to many Kings games with him and not because I love the Kings. It was because I loved Alan. He always commanded the room and his intelligence and humanity were the hallmarks of his life. This is obviously a shock. He’s left behind his wife Vicki and daughter Molly that I know he loved deeply. He was trapped in a mental illness that brought him down. He was very depressed and trying to work it out but the darkness got the best of him. I’ll always try to remember him for the light he brought. He will truly be missed.”
Note: There are conflicting reports as to the cause of Kirschenbaum’s death.
CBS released the following statement regarding Kirschenbaum:
“We are stunned and devastated to hear the news this morning of Alan’s passing. We have lost a long-time colleague, a valued friend and truly one of the most well liked individuals in our midst. We will remember a gifted and successful comedy writer/producer who shared generously of his time beyond his show duties to help the network and studio in a variety of ways; a kind and gentle man; and a warm and witty conversationalist who could always be seen chatting up many on our lot ranging from assistants to senior executives. Everyone at CBS truly loved Alan and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts grieve for his wife Vicki, daughter Molly, sister Judi, mother Ethel and his father, comedian Freddie Roman, and all of Alan’s family and friends.”
For the Huffington Post, Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond) also offered a very personal reflection on Kirschenbaum, whom he had known and been friends with since both men were teen-agers in the 1970s. “I’m not happy today, but I hope it’s clear that I would literally not be here at all, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity, the success, the money for this laptop without him, my dear and funny friend,” Rosenthal wrote. “I know he loved his friends, his wife, his parents, his sister, his incredible, beautiful and magnificently talented daughter Molly. He loved his work. He loved laughing and I loved being with him.”