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Gary David Goldberg, writer-producer of TV comedies 'Family Ties' and 'Spin City,' dead at 68

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Gary David Goldberg, who created the 1980s sitcom hit "Family Ties" and expanded into feature films, has died.

Goldberg died of brain cancer in Montecito, Calif., on Saturday, days before his 69th birthday, The New York Times reported.

Goldberg's TV successes also included the ABC comedy "Spin City," which in 1996 reunited him with "Family Ties" breakout star Michael J. Fox as the deputy mayor of New York City.

"With a full heart I say goodbye to my mentor, benefactor, partner, second father and beloved friend," Fox said in a statement on Monday. "He touched so many with his enormous talent and generous spirit. He changed my life profoundly."

A more modest hit for Goldberg yet much-acclaimed, CBS' "Brooklyn Bridge" (1991-93) was a tender comedy based on his experiences growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y. Marion Ross starred as a character inspired by his grandmother.

Goldberg's films included "Dad" (1989), starring Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson, as well as "Bye Bye Love" (1995) and "Must Love Dogs" (2005), which he wrote as well as directed.

His own dog, Ubu, contributed the name of his production company and was widely known from the onscreen credit where viewers heard the command, "Sit, Ubu, sit," then a bark.

Goldberg began his TV career in the 1970s as a writer for series including "The Bob Newhart Show," and was a producer of "Lou Grant."

In 1982 "Family Ties" premiered on NBC, introducing Michael J. Fox as a business-loving Young Republican son of left-wing baby boomers who were former hippies.

"Basically, those parents are me and Diana," Goldberg once said, referring to his wife, Diana Meehan, who survives him.

The series became a huge hit, making Fox a star and Goldberg an important behind-the-camera name.

During his career, Goldberg won two Emmy awards, two Golden Globes and a Peabody award.

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