One of Saturday Night Live‘s original writers, Tom Davis, died of throat and neck cancer at the age of 59.
Davis originally paired up with Al Franken, jointly sharing one writer’s spot for a measly $350 a week, reports TMZ. Together, they wrote some of SNL‘s classic long-running skits, such as “The Coneheads” and “Nick the Lounge Singer,” helping comedians Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray achieve their early fame. Though Davis played second-fiddle to the flashier Franken, who went on to become a Democratic Senator from Minnesota, his body of work alongside the former comedian is what he will be best-remembered for, reports AP.
In a 2009 interview, Davis fondly recalled his partnership with Franken, saying, “If we were Sonny and Cher, he would be Cher.”
Screenwriter Pat Proft remarked that together, Davis and Franken were the “perfect comedy team.” Proft also recalled his last meeting with Davis. “Last I saw Tom he was happy,” Proft said in an email. “He wrote his book. We talked. Had a wonderful time. I’m sorry for his wife. His family. For Al. For all of us who know him. A very sad day.”
So saddened by the death of our friend Tom Davis. We’re so fortunate to have shared so many laughs, smiles wonderfully great times w/ him.
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) July 20, 2012
A great blog post by our old friend Tom Davis bit.ly/MuWard
— Mike Shoemaker (@shoemakermike) July 20, 2012
The book Proft mentioned is Davis’s memoir, “Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL From Someone Who Was There,” in which he details his friendships with counterculture icons Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary. He also discussed his own personal drug use and his travels in India in the 1970s.
He also maintained his sense of humor, particularly regarding his own impending death after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009.
“I wake up in the morning, delighted to be waking up, read, write, feed the birds, watch sports on TV, accepting the fact that in the foreseeable future I will be a dead person,” Davis wrote. “I want to remind you that dead people are people too.”
Rest in peace, Tom Davis. Thanks for the laughs.