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Irma Kalish (1924–2021), pioneering TV writer for “Maude,” “The Facts of Life”

by Linnea Crowther

Irma Kalish was a pioneering TV producer and writer for classic sitcoms including “Maude,” “The Facts of Life,” and “Good Times.”

TV career

Kalish was one of the first women working behind the scenes in television when she began her TV career in the 1950s. She got her start working in radio, writing for “The Martin & Lewis Show” along with her late husband, Austin “Rocky” Kalish. The couple went on to write together for TV shows including “My Three Sons,” “All in the Family,” and “Too Close for Comfort.” Among their most memorable achievements was the script for the groundbreaking 1972 “Maude” episode “Maude’s Dilemma,” focusing on the main character’s decision to have an abortion. Kalish also worked independently from her husband on shows such as “Valerie,” “The Facts of Life,” and “227.”

Notable quote

“I had a personal adage that – sure, God made man before women, but then you always do a first draft before you make a final masterpiece. So I was known as a proponent of women. But to his credit Rocky was also. He pushed me to get forward and not just be known as ‘Rocky’s wife’ but to be known as Irma Kalish.” —from a 2012 interview for the Television Academy Foundation

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Tributes to Irma Kalish

Full obituary: The Post-Standard

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