The tight-knit community of comedy and sitcom writers and producers is mourning the loss this weekend of one of their own.
Alan Kirschenbaum, 51, died Friday night in Los Angeles from “an apparent suicide,” according to this account on the Deadline.com Web site — one of many appearing Saturday on various show business Web sites.
Kirschenbaum worked as a writer, producer or consultant on many top TV sitcoms. He even had an upcoming show — a midseason CBS sitcom called “Friend Me” starring Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicholas Braun — that he co-created. There was no word yet on how that show will be affected by Kirschenbaum’s death, although CBS issued a heartfelt statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” said the CBS statement. “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.”
No details have been revealed yet in any of the stories about the nature of his suicide (or even an official confirmation that he did commit suicide), the reasons why he may have taken his own life, where he died, or whether he left a note.
Kirschenbaum was very well-liked, and producers and performers who had worked with him were quick to react. Kirschenbaum worked in TV comedy for almost three decades. He leaves a wife, Vicki, and a daughter. His father is legendary Borscht Belt comedian Freddie Roman, 75.
Among those with whom he worked closely was sitcom creator Greg Garcia. The two co-created the CBS sitcom “Yes, Dear,” and Kirschenbaum worked on other Garcia series such as “My Name is Earl” and “Raising Hope.” Garcia issued a brief statement accompanied by some photos of Kirschenbaum. Deadline.com has them here.
“Alan Kirschenbaum was an amazing boss, colleague and friend,” “Yes, Dear” star Mike O’Malley said in a statement provided to Deadline (here). “Funny, funny man with a huge heart. Beloved by countless friends — and now missed by them all. Rest in Peace.”