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Sun., April 24, 2011

Madelyn Pugh Davis, TV comedy writer

Los Angeles – Madelyn Pugh Davis, who with her writing partner Bob Carroll Jr. made television history in the 1950s writing Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s landmark situation comedy “I Love Lucy,” has died. She was 90.

Davis, a pioneering female radio and TV comedy writer whose work with the red-haired queen of TV comedy spanned four decades, died Wednesday at her home in Bel-Air after a brief illness.

The team of Davis and Carroll was writing Ball’s CBS radio comedy “My Favorite Husband,” co-starring Richard Denning, when they and their colleague, writer-producer Jess Oppenheimer, wrote the pilot episode for “I Love Lucy.”

The Emmy Award-winning series about a wacky New York City housewife and her Cuban bandleader husband ran on CBS from 1951 to 1957. It was ranked No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings for four of its six seasons and was never out of the top three.

“I Love Lucy” has been playing around the world continuously since.

When interviewers asked Ball, who died in 1989, what she thought was the secret of her show’s enduring popularity, she had a stock answer: “My writers.”

William Schaefer, Maryland political figure

Annapolis, Md. – William Donald Schaefer, the colorfully outspoken and combative Maryland governor and four-term Baltimore mayor who oversaw the transformation of downtown from a gritty center of urban decay into a tourist attraction, died Monday. He was 89.

Schaefer, who was hospitalized with pneumonia earlier this month, died at his home at the Charlestown retirement community outside Baltimore.

Schaefer was mayor from 1971 to 1986 and battled to fill potholes as mayor and never missed an opportunity to tout his hometown, even jumping in a seal pool while wearing a turn-of-the-century bathing suit and holding a rubber ducky to promote a new aquarium.

The Democrat was a Maryland political icon who held statewide office into his 80s. But his brashness and unpredictability made for a tumultuous two terms as governor, starting in 1987.

Schaefer disliked being called a “bricks-and-mortar” politician. But he built his reputation as a man who got things done with projects such as Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and a new stadium for the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.


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