Sam Bobrick, the creator of NBC’s popular teen sitcom Saved by the Bell and writer of dozens of stage plays, has died at 87 after suffering a stroke. A representative for Bobrick confirmed the news to EW.
Adam Carl, an actor and friend of Bobrick’s, penned a remembrance that he published on Medium last Friday. “Sam was, more than anything, a mensch of the highest order,” he wrote. “He was a writer who absolutely adored actors (not always a given), and appreciated the contributions they brought to the table. He was never precious or defensive about suggestions or notes; he wanted the work to be the best it could be, and cherished a good idea from no matter where it came. He was a delightful raconteur, a thoughtful and generous host, and never saw milk he couldn’t turn into a shake. He was also wickedly and darkly funny. His humor was sometimes barbed, sometimes silly, sometimes absurdist, often self-deprecating. But this above all — he was never ever not funny.”
Born in Chicago in 1932, Bobrick created the TV show Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which aired for one season on the Disney Channel between 1988 and 1989. Hayley Mills, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Dustin Diamond starred on the show, and returned after it was canceled and revived as Saved by the Bell.
The sitcom ran on NBC from 1989 to 1993, with a cast that also included Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley. A revival is currently in development for NBC’s new streaming platform, Peacock.
Bobrick’s other TV credits included Captain Kangaroo, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Flintstones, and Get Smart.
His stage work was much more extensive. As a playwright, he performed an uncredited rewrite on 1975’s The Wiz and won an Edgar Award in 2011 from the Mystery Writers of America for his play The Psychic. He also penned Norman, Is That You?, No Hard Feelings, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, and Wally’s Cafe.