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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Goldberg of the month: Gary David Goldberg

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.

Gary David Goldberg is perfectly happy to be remembered for his daughter Shana's work on the television show Friends. And who wouldn't be proud of her? She not only wrote for the show, she was also an executive producer. But unfortunately for the humble Goldberg, the fact that his daughter worked on the nineties cult hit might just be an asterisk on his own storied career, writing such landmark television shows such as Family Ties and Spin City.

Goldberg chronicles his unexpected career in showbiz in his new memoir entitled Sit, Ubu, Sit: How I Went from Brooklyn to Hollywood with the Same Woman, the Same Dog, And a Lot Less Hair. His brand of unpretentious humor (evident in the title of his book) not only helped him score seven Emmy nods, it also helped him navigate the murky waters of Hollywood with dignity and integrity. Nonetheless, you get the sense that being big in Hollywood was never as important to him as his family.

"The lens through which I look at the world is not a show business lens, and I'm proud of that," Goldberg tells me on a recent phone conversation while spending time with his family in Colorado. "I'm proud of what I've done, but I don't carry that with me on a regular basis. I could forget I've done these things."

For Goldberg, growing up in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn created a sense of community in his life that extended well beyond the doors of his own home. "We were all their children and they were all our parents," Goldberg remembers, then chuckles. "There was a lot of hugging and touching and kissing."

It was this same sense of community with which Goldberg approached the set of his first hit show. "The work environment on Family Ties reflected my world view. We didn't have any yelling and screaming." And true to his down-to-earth style, 25 years later, Goldberg remains close friends with the cast, particularly Michael J. Fox.

Goldberg was one of the first people to learn of Fox's devastating Parkinson's diagnosis. In fact, much of the book is devoted to his evolving relationship with Fox over the years. But also weaved within his fascinating and, at points, hilarious book is a compelling and heartwarming love story between Goldberg and his wife.

As I hang up the phone, I realize that despite his success, Goldberg sees himself as, well, any other Goldberg. To take a line from his book: "If you wake me in the middle of the night and shake me and ask me who I am, I will tell you. I'm a kid from Brooklyn whose father worked in the post office."

--Text by Chanie Cohen Kirschner / Photo by Robin Laton

This is part of our Feb/Mar 2008 issue.
posted by Benyamin | 4:57 PM | Link | |
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