Charlie Hauck, writer-producer of 'Frasier' and 'Home Improvement', dies at 79; Michael Keaton says he'll be missed
'If it wasn't for Charlie, I am not sure I would have had the opportunities or career that I have had,' Micahel Keaton stated. 'People inside and outside the comedy world are really going to miss Charlie'
Two-time Emmy nominee and writer-producer Charlie Hauck has died at the age of 79. He was known for creating several sitcoms and penning scripts for iconic shows. He also gave Michael Keaton an early career break. Charlie Hauck's daughter, Flannery Cogan Hauck, said he died of complications from pancreatic cancer at his home in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, according to press reports. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his partner, Logan Dalla Betta; sons Maurice (and his wife, Claudia), Seth and Perry; sister Maryanne; and grandchildren Natasha and Oliver.
He wrote for the CBS series 'Maude' for three seasons, and was also a producer on nearly 20 episodes. He went on to co-create the ABC series 'The Associates', which earned him his first Emmy nomination for "Outstanding writing in a comedy series".
Reuniting with 'Maude' producer Elliot Shoenman, he became the EP and writer of the ABC comedy series 'Home Improvement', starring Tim Allen. The 2000s brought him to the beloved and iconic series 'Frasier', the 'Cheers' spin-off with Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce. He received his second Emmy nomination as one of the producers of 'Frasier'. Talking about writing for television with The Washington Post, Hauck said: "not everybody can [do it]. As self-referential and formulaic and sappy as a lot of TV seems, even on the lower levels it is kind of difficult to do. On the higher levels — a good show on a good night — television can be quite exquisite and very difficult."
The writer began as a TV reporter and anchor at Pittsburgh’s WQED, where he met comedian Michael Keaton, who was, at the time, a local theater actor and member of the production crew. “Charlie was one of the first people who opened the door for me,” Keaton said in a press statement.
“I was about a month away from moving to New York, and Charlie said, ‘I think you ought to think about Los Angeles.’ And I’ll never forget the expression he used. He said, ‘It’s wide open out here.’ I thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll come out,’ and I never thought I’d stay, and I just never left.”
"If it wasn't for Charlie, I am not sure I would have had the opportunities or career that I have had," Keaton added. "People inside and outside the comedy world are really going to miss Charlie. He was gracious, obviously generous, charming and funny as hell. He was a legitimate, honest-to-goodness wit." Hauck is also known for penning one of former President Bill Clinton's favorite books, 'Artistic Differences', published in 1993, about a comedy writer's struggles with a gorgeous, egocentric sitcom star. The New York Times called it a "caustically funny account of star temperament within the world of network television".
Hauck's career included writing episodes of comedies like CBS' 'One Day at a Time', ABC's 'That's My Mama', ABC's 'The Hot l Baltimore'. He famously wrote one episode of CBS' 'M*A*S*H' in 1976, under the pseudonym of Richard Cogan, as favor to Larry Gelbart. "Nobody made me laugh harder, or more often, than Charlie Hauck," said Maude' series creator Norman Lear in a statement. He added that Hauck "defined 'funny' and was a glorious man and friend".