'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In' Co-Creator Digby Wolfe | June 4, 1929 - May 2, 2012

By McLellan, Dennis | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In' Co-Creator Digby Wolfe | June 4, 1929 - May 2, 2012


McLellan, Dennis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Digby Wolfe, an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer who helped producer George Schlatter develop "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," a landmark TV series that became an overnight sensation in the late 1960s, has died. He was 82.

Mr. Wolfe, who later became a professor of writing at the University of New Mexico, died of lung cancer May 2 at his home in Albuquerque, said his wife, Patricia Mannion-Wolfe.

The British-born Mr. Wolfe -- an actor, writer, singer and comedian whose early career included writing for the BBC's satirical "That Was the Week That Was" and hosting an Australian TV variety show -- moved to Los Angeles in the mid-'60s.

He joined Mr. Schlatter in developing "Laugh-In" after they met at a cocktail party.

"I had the original concept for the show, but I couldn't sell it. It was too far out," Mr. Schlatter recalled. "I brought in Digby, who was able to organize it and articulate these wild concepts."

Mr. Wolfe, he said, "brought a tremendous amount to 'Laugh-In.' He helped develop it, write it, cast it. He was definitely involved in every aspect of 'Laugh-In.' And he brought with him the kind of British sensibility of comedy and satire. And, of course, his political awareness meant a great deal to the show."

Mr. Wolfe also made another significant contribution to the series.

"We had a number of [early] titles; one of them was 'Section 8,' " Mr. Schlatter said. But it was the era of sit-ins, be-ins and love- ins, he recalled, "and one day Mr. …

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