Bernard Slade has died. The Canadian playwright and television writer, best known for 1970s TV sitcom The Partridge Family and the Broadway play-turned-film, Same Time, Next Year, passed away on October 30 at his Beverly Hills home. Slade died from complications of Lewy body dementia, a representative for his family told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 89.
Slade began his career as an actor in Canada before moving to Hollywood in the 1960s. As a writer for the studio Screen Gems, he served as a story editor and wrote 17 episodes for Elizabeth Montgomery’s witch-themed comedy, Bewitched. Slade also developed the 1967 sitcom The Flying Nun, which starred Sally Field.
In 1970, Slade created popular ABC series The Partridge Family, which starred Shirley Jones, David Cassidy and Susan Dey. The musical comedy was based on the real-life musical family, The Cowsills, and launched Cassidy’s career as a teen idol.
Slade also created the 1970s TV shows Bridget Loves Bernie and The Girl With Something Extra, as well as a Partridge Family spinoff called Getting Together, which starred teen idol Bobby Sherman.
One of Slade’s biggest claims to fame was the play Same Time, Next Year, which starred Ellen Burstyn in both the hit 1975 stage run as well as the romantic comedy’s big-screen adaption; Burstyn appeared opposite Alan Alda in 1978. The stage play earned Slade a Tony Award nomination; the film earned an Oscar nod.
In 2000, Slade penned a memoir, Shared Laughter. That same year, he talked to the website C’mon Get Happy about his prolific career. In the interview, the writer revealed that he was originally contracted to do three TV pilots a year with Screen Gems.
“I would come up with a number of different ideas, and they would pick the ones they wanted. I was very new at this and I didn’t realize that it was such a long shot to get something on the air because the very first thing I ever created was Love On A Rooftop and it was immediately accepted,” he explained. “I took it all for granted.”
Slade also recalled a few TV pilots that didn’t make it on air, including shows with Barbara Hershey and Cloris Leachman. He estimated that he had eight TV series that sold in all.
Bernard Slade was married to his wife, Jill Foster, for 64 years before her death in 2017 She was.a Bewitched actress who played Darrin’s secretary, Betty, on the ABC sitcom. Slade is survived by his children, Laurie Newbound and Chris Newbound, and four granddaughters.