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November 09, 2012

Bob Brunner, Writer-Producer for Happy Days and Other Comedies

Brunner, a longtime collaborator with Garry Marshall, also wrote for Laverne & Shirley and The Odd Couple.

Bob Brunner, a writer-producer who worked widely in both film and television, and had a longtime professional association with Garry Marshall, died October 28, 2012, in Northridge, California. He was 78.

According to news reports, the cause was a heart attack.

A native of New York City, Brunner began his career as a publicist for music artists like Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett.

He moved into television as a writer for the comedy series The Odd Couple, which began a thriving collaboration with writer-producer Garry Marshall.

As a writer for Happy Days, Brunner made lasting contributions, including coining the nickname "Fonzie" for Henry Winkler's character, Arthur Fonzarelli, and his catch phrase, "Sit on it."

Brunner is also reputed to have suggested the idea that Fonzie jump over a shark on water skis in a 1977 episode, which years later led to the expression "jump the shark," to denote the point at which a television series began going downhill.

Brunner's other TV credits include Alice, Three's Company and Diff'rent Strokes.

His movie work includes Exit to Eden and The Other Sister.

More about his life and work is available at:

Hollywood Reporter

Variety

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