âThere were an awful lot of scripts written during the course of those years that didnât wind up in front of cameras,â Mr. Lear said in a telephone interview this week. âYou knew if they were writing the script it would see four camerasâ â the number he was using to shoot the shows in front of a live audience.
Robert Achille Schiller was born on Nov. 8, 1918, in San Francisco. His father, Roland, was a clothing manufacturer and salesman; his mother, the former Lucille Bloch, had been an English teacher before her marriage.
The family moved to Los Angeles when Robert was about 10. He went on to study economics at the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving his degree in 1939. He wrote for the campus newspaper and used that skill when he enlisted in the Army, contributing to Stars & Stripes and other publications during the war.
His radio work after the war included, in addition to âDuffyâs Tavern,â the series âThe Abbott and Costello Showâ and âThe Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.â
But that type of radio show began to disappear in the early 1950s, and Mr. Schiller, who had married Joyce Harris in 1947 and had a young son, was on the verge of taking a job in his father-in-lawâs clothing business. His agent saved him from that fate at the last minute with job offers from âFour Star Revueâ and âThe Garry Moore Show,â and after that the writing work came steadily.
Among the other series on which Mr. Schiller and Mr. Weiskopf worked over the years were Lucille Ballâs later series, âThe Lucy Showâ; âThe Flip Wilson Showâ; âAllâs Fair,â another show by Mr. Lear, which did not last long; and âArchie Bunkerâs Place,â the successor series to âAll in the Family.â
Although they were known as comedy writers, some of their finest scripts were far more than just gags, fearlessly mixing humor with the most serious…