James Komack Biography (1930-1997)
Born August 3, 1930, in New York, NY; died of heart problems, December 24, 1997, in Los Angeles, CA. Comedian, actor, producer, director, writer. Komack led a varied career in the entertainment industry and was responsible for bringing popular series to television, including Get Smart, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Chico and the Man, Welcome Back Kotter, and 9 to 5. Early in hiscareer, he worked as a stand-up comic in nightclubs across the United States.He made his stage debut in 1955 in a production of Damn Yankees as Rocky, and he later reprised the role for the film of the same name in 1958. His otherstage appearances included Sixth Finger in a Five Finger Glove and New Faces, while his film roles included productions such as Senior Prom and A Hole inthe Head. In the 1960s he began a prominent career in television, first as adirector of episodes on shows such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and My FavoriteMartin. Then he worked as a series producer, first with Get Smart, then withMr. Roberts. In 1969 his show The Courtship of Eddie's Father aired; it wasa program that he created and executive produced. He also directed episodes of the series and appeared as Norman Tinker. Komack then served as creator andexecutive producer of two hit shows: Chico and the Man for NBC and Welcome Back Kotter for ABC. Again he directed episodes of both shows; he provided thevoice of principal John Lazarus and also appeared as Horshack's uncle on Welcome Back Kotter. Work on other short-lived series followed, including the series 9 to 5, which was a spinoff of the popular movie of the same name. His writing credits included episodes of Hennessey, My Favorite Martin, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Chico and the Man, Welcome Back Kotter, The Rollergirls, and Me and Maxx. He is also credited with writing the "Nic-Name Song." During his career he was the bandleader of Jimmie Komack and His Orchestra. He wrote comedy material for Red Buttons and Art Carney, and he wrote songs for Eartha Kitt. In 1985 he directed the movie Porky's Revenge.
- comedian, actor, producer, director
- Birth Details
- August 3, 1930
- New York, New York, United States
- Death Details
- December 24, 1997
- Los Angeles, California, United States
- Los Angeles Times, December 30, 1997, p. B8.