Mumbai: Award-winning television comedy writer Seaman Jacobs, a longtime member of the Writers Guild of America, West, died of cardiac arrest on 8 April at Century City Hospital in Los Angeles. He was 96.
Creating a career in comedy spanning more than half a century, prolific writer Jacobs penned countless episodes of some of America’s favorite TV series.
Born in Kingston, NY in 1912, he entered Syracuse University in 1928. Through articles in The Orange Peel, the University’s humor magazine, he helped create Bill Orange and the Saltine Warrior, an energizer for SU sports. By his senior year, he was editor-in-chief of The Orange Peel and a member of Tau Theta Epsilon, the senior class honorary society.
Graduating in 1932 from Syracuse’s School of Management – recently, the SU Los Angeles Alumni Club honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award – Seaman ventured to New York City, quickly establishing himself as a Broadway press agent, with clients including Bob Hope. After service during WWII, Captain Jacobs altered his course, returning to civilian life for legends Fred Allen and Jack Paar.
Jacobs’ talent wasn’t limited to the small screen – his feature film credits include the Elvis Presley starrer It Happened at the World’s Fair (1962), co-written with Si Rose, and the George Burns hit sequel, Oh, God! Book II (1980, screenplay by Josh Greenfeld and Hal Goldman and Fred S. Fox and Seaman Jacobs and Melissa Miller, story by Josh Greenfeld). In addition, Jacobs made a career as an in-demand comedy writer, penning monologues for several comedy legends over the years. For nearly five decades, his clever wordplay helped define TV comedy as spoken by icons including Bob Hope, George Burns, Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas, Ed Wynn, and Johnny Carson.
In addition to his wife, singer Vicki Benet Jacobs, he leaves behind his son Tom Jacobs, and four grandchildren, Will, Rebecca, Nathaniel, and Stephen.
A memorial service for Mr. Jacobs will be held on 9 May at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills (151 S. Doheny Drive). The memorial starts at 6:00 p.m. with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations in his memory may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund or the Writers Guild Foundation.