Peg Lynch, one of the pioneers of television’s earliest sitcom comedies, died on Friday at the age of 98 in her Becket, Massachusetts, home, as confirmed by her daughter, Astrid King.
Lynch was most well-known for her sitcom “Ethel and Albert,” a show that celebrated the mundane details of married life in the 1940s and '50s. She created, starred in, and wrote the show, according to The New York Times
. She also penned more than 11,000 scripts for both radio and television as one of the first women prominently involved in broadcast entertainment.
“Ethel and Albert,” which was also known as “The Private Lives of Ethel and Albert,” explored the lives of an affectionate, ordinary married couple living in a representative American town, Sandy Harbor, and began as a 15-minute, five-day-a-week radio program before appearing as a weekly Saturday night series on NBC, CBS, and ABC until 1956.
“I base my show on the little things in life,” Lynch told The New York Times in 1950. “I believe that people like to find out that other people have some of the same problems they do.”
Margaret Frances Lynch was born in 1916 in Lincoln, Nebraska, and her love for broadcasting began in 1921 when her Uncle Harry popped a pair of headphones over her ears and she listened to a broadcast from KDKA in Pittsburgh, hundreds of miles away, according to the official website that her daughter created and ran for her
“Mystified but thrilled, she said ‘That’s what I’m going to do when I grow up, talk my words through the air!’” her daughter wrote.
Lynch’s own father died from the Spanish Flu virus when she was almost 2 years old, and thus Lynch was never able to really witness her parents’ normal, everyday lives, according to her official website. But she would go on to graduate from high school at age 16 and attend Rochester Junior College, where she sold her first radio script to WCCO in Minneapolis, before moving to New York and pioneering “Ethel and Albert.”
Later in life, Lynch still retained her comic sensitivity.
“I’d like to write an ‘Ethel and Albert’ now, and what their problems would be like and how they would get through them. It would be interesting. Life becomes different when you’re in your 90s. People treat you differently. People are always asking ‘Are you warm enough?’ or ‘Are you hungry?’ ‘What can I do for you?’ No, I’m fine thanks. I’ll do it myself,” Lynch said, according to The New York Times.
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