James Komack

Active - 1987 - 1987  |   Born - Aug 3, 1930   |   Died - Dec 24, 1997   |   Genres - Comedy, Science Fiction

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

James Komack was best-known in Hollywood as the writer and television producer behind such popular sitcoms as My Favorite Martian, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, and Chico and the Man. He is credited with helping to launch the careers of the late comic Freddie Prinz and superstar John Travolta.

A native of New York, Komack started out as a stage and television actor after gaining experience as a standup comedian and musician in the 1950s. His most notable stage role was that of Rocky in the first production of Damn Yankees, a role he would reprise on film in 1959. Komack made his feature film debut in Senior Prom (1958). After one more film appearance, he landed a regular part, that of a rich dentist on Jackie Cooper's television series Hennessey (1959-1962). He made his television directorial debut with an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and went on to direct on other series, including Get Smart (1965) and The Green Hornet (1966). The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969) marked the dawn of Komack's most successful period in television. At his peak from 1977 to 1978, Komack was behind four active series; by the late '70s, however, he became interested in launching a movie career. He made his directorial debut and film screenwriting debut with Porky's Revenge (1985). In 1987, Komack provided the screenplay for the nostalgic Back to the Beach starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Those two efforts comprised Komack's film career. He did, however, remain active in television working as a series repairman (one who helps tighten up or fix ailing shows) on such sitcoms as 9 to 5. In the '90s, Komack began writing a book about the television industry, but died of heart failure on December 24, 1997, before he could complete it.