That Girl creator Sam Denoff dies

Sam Denoff, a multiple Emmy-winner who wrote for The Dick Van Dyke Show and co-created the hit Marlo Thomas sitcom That Girl, has died.

Sam Denoff, a multiple Emmy-winner who wrote for The Dick Van Dyke Show and co-created the hit Marlo Thomas sitcom That Girl, as died. He was 83.

Denoff died Friday at his Brentwood, Calif., home. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

He and his writing partner Bill Persky won two Emmys for The Dick Van Dyke Show, including for the memorable  episode "Coast-to-Coast Big Mouth," in which Laura Petrie lets slip that Alan Brady wears a toupee.

He also earned Emmys for producing the first Bill Cosby special, created in 1968, and for The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special, which he wrote in 1967.

Born in Brooklyn, Denoff grew up studying piano and wanted to be a songwriter. Unable to sell his songs, he began a job as a page at NBC in New York and later moved on to  community radio station WNEW, where he met Persky. The pair wrote jingles, jokes and comedy routines for DJ William B. Williams.

In 1957 they co-authored the song Let's Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn, which was recorded by Phil Foster.

Persky and Denoff moved to California in 1961 for their first network television job as junior writers on ABC's The Steve Allen Show. They also wrote for The Andy Williams Show in the 1962-63 season, before trying situation comedy with McHale's Navy and The Joey Bishop Show.

In 1963, they sold their first script to The Dick Van Dyke Show, which had debuted just two years earlier. They went on to write a majority of the scripts for the final three years of the now-classic sitcom.

In the classic TV series That Girl, Marlo Thomas played a career woman living in New York. (ABC)
Denoff and Persky then created and served as executive producers of That Girl, starring Thomas as a young career woman living in New York — a new kind of female character for television.

Their partnership continued with specials such as The Julie Andrews Special With Gene Kelly, The First Nine Months Are the Hardest, Dick Van Dyke and the Other Woman with Mary Tyler Moore and Pure Goldie with Goldie Hawn.

After the team split up in the mid-'70s, Denoff went on to produceThe Practice, starring Danny Thomas, as well as to create and produceThe Don Rickles Show. He also created and produced 1985's  The Lucie Arnaz Show and was executive supervising producer of the sitcom   It's Garry Shandling's Show.

Other credits include The American Comedy Awards and Jerry Lewis' annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.

Denoff is survived by his second wife, Sharon Shore Denoff, a painter and dancer on Broadway, television and in the ballet, and by four children: sons Douglas and Matthew and daughters Leslie and Melissa.