Note: This post is part of a Nationwide movement Started by Dale Challener Roe to have each victim of the terrorist attacks in New York, Shanksville and Washington DC remembered on this solemn anniversary. For more information on this project, click here.
I’m honored,but still heartbroken, as I pay tribute to two of the kindest people it was my privilege to meet. Normally, when you think “Hollywood,” you don’t expect to hear words like “selfless,” “devoted” or “humble”. But David and Lynn Angell were cut from a different cloth from the folks normally found in that industry.
For David, it was proof positive that nice guys CAN finish first. David was one of the creators of the top-rated. long-running NBC series “Frasier” along with his two partners Peter Casey and David Lee, who described Angell as
“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.“
David was born and raised in West Barrington, R.I. After graduating from Providence College, he joined the Army and served at the Pentagon. Upon his discharge, he wrote insurance manuals and worked as a methods analyst in Boston before taking interest in writing for television (as a result of watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show). His career in television began as a writer for the Barney Miller show. After that, he wrote for a number of shows until signing on as a staff writer for “Cheers.” There, he met his future partners Casey and Lee. They left Cheers to start their own production company and produced the hit series “Wings.” When Cheers wrapped, they teamed up with Kelsey Grammar to produce the show “Frasier” which ran for 11 seasons on NBC.
But David was much more than what you would read in his biography. His creativeness lent itself well to a number of areas outside of show business. As a devoted husband of wife Lynn, he worked with her frequently, spearheading projects with her in support of child victims of abuse and mental illness at the Hillsides School in Pasadena, CA.
In fact, David’s involvement in support of his wife’s work as well as other philanthropic activities resulted in the American Screenwriters’ Association creating an annual David Angell Humanitarian Award, in his honor. The award is presented annually to an individual in the entertainment industry who contributes to global well-being through donations of time, expertise, or other support to improve the human condition… something that David, himself, devoted a great deal of time doing.
Lynn Angell was no less giving. She met David when they were both working on Cape Cod during the summer. They married in the summer of 1971. When David decided to try for a writing career in the entertainment industry, they moved to Hollywood. But Lynn was not satisfied to sit around. She worked as a librarian. After David established himself as one of the top sitcom writers in Hollywood, Lynn “retired” from her job and became a volunteer with the Hillsides Home for abused and emotionally troubled children in nearby Pasadena. She also made numerous financial contributions to the school unbeknownst to the school’s director. She took a personal interest in the lives of the students there and David often spent time with her developing projects for the kids. To the students, David and Lynn were appropriately named, for they were both guardian Angells to these children who desperately needed the kind of positive energy the Angells brought when they came.
This was the couple you wanted to know. Or be. Their love and devotion to each other carried them through 30 years of the kind of marriage one dreams of. It was not long after they celebrated their 30th anniversary that they returned to Cape Cod for another family wedding on the week-end of September 8th 2001. They had already decided to move to Chatham, MA upon the completion of “Frasier.” As the wedding week-end passed, David and Lynn had to fly back to Los Angeles in preparation for the Emmy Awards as Frasier was once again nominated (David and his partners Peter Casey and David Lee had been nominated 37 times and had won 24 Emmys plus a number of “Q” awards from Viewers for Quality Television). Their return from Cape Cod to California put them on the ill-fated Flight 11 which was the first plane to be flown into the World Trade Center towers.
Anyone whose path crossed either David’s or Lynn’s never forgot how refreshingly real and genuinely kind they were. How appropriate their last names were “Angell.”