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This is not a Garry Shandling tribute

"The Waltons' " Earl Hamner, Jr., and SAG's Ken Howard also died last week, and their contributions to TV should not be overlooked

FROM CAMPAIGN US: News of comedian Garry Shandling’s death flooded the media on March 24th, with tributes aplenty touting the star of “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” But two other prominent individuals also passed away last week: writer and producer Earl Hamner, Jr., who created family drama “The Waltons,” and actor and SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard.

Four summers ago I had the opportunity to meet Hamner at a Warner Brother event at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. “The Waltons” was often criticized for being too sentimental,” he told me. “But we tackled many serious issues. And we did it through the eyes, and the hearts, of a family that loved and cared about each other. We may not have been hip or sexy, but there was a great hunger for this real family interaction. People wanted that sense of security.”

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Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. Marc, I was very impressed with your fitting tribute to Earl Hamner and Ken Howard. Of all the words I’ve read since the passing of Mr. Hamner, yours were the most thought provoking, concise and yet fulling encapsulating of his career and contributions. To include Ken Howard’s legacy in your article as well was very appropriate and honorable. I put the link to your article at the top of my memorial list for Earl Hamner on my site allaboutthewaltons.com I also just read your story about NBC and Jeff Bader as well as “Life without Downton Abbey” Good reporting and research, I think you just gained a new fan.

    • Hey David…thank you so much! You just made my day. I was so honored to have met Mr. Hamner. The man was a true idol of mine and can’t begin to even tell you what “The Waltons” has meant me. At a time when I needed support, this fictional family was always there for me.

      • Nice to know your not too jaded for The Waltons. My wife and I were sad to hear about Ken Howard as well. A small little show that had a pretty big impact for the short time it was on. Pretty RAW if I remember. Damn, now I gotta go find the series and binge watch it. My daughter is off to school to study writing in the Fall. I shared this article with her for some inspiration.

        • Thank you David. I discovered The White Shadow after it aired on CBS in repeats. This show was absolutely groundbreaking; tackling subjects no other show did at the time. I wish one of the nostalgia networks would air it.