Interviews

 

Irma Kalish

Writer

Irma Kalish on wanting to be a writer when she grew up

00:51

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. 

About this interview

In their three-hour interview, Irma Kalish and her writing partner and husband, Rocky, discuss their long career as television writers. She talks about growing up in NY and being inspired to become a writer after her college dean told her she never would. In their joint interview, Rocky and Irma discuss their first gigs writing for Martin & Lewis on the radio, and for The Colgate Comedy Hour  in the early days of live television. They chronicle their writing careers on shows such as Gilligan's Island  (for which they co-wrote the pilot with Elroy Schwartz and conceived of the characters), I Dream of Jeannie, My Three Sons, F Troop, Family Affair, The Flying Nun, The Reconversion of Sister Shapiro, Carter Country, Too Close for Comfort, and The Facts of Life. They speak in detail about several episodes of All in the Family  they wrote, including an emotional story about Edith's character in "Edith's Christmas Story," and the controversial "Gloria the Victim" episode. They describe writing "Maude's Dilemma" on Maude, and working with Norman Lear. They discuss working with a largely black cast on Good Times  and the challenges of the show, and talk about various stars with whom they've worked, including Shelley Berman, Marilyn Monroe, and Fred MacMurray. They talk about creating the failed series Mason, and Irma speaks of writing books and her involvement with the Writers Guild and Motion Picture and Television Fund. Amy Harrington conducted the interview on December 21, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA.

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. 

Interview Highlights

Embedded thumbnail for Irma Kalish on wanting to be a writer when she grew up

Irma Kalish on wanting to be a writer when she grew up

00:51
Embedded thumbnail for On being inspired after the dean at he school told her she would never be a writer

On being inspired after the dean at he school told her she would never be a writer

00:41
Embedded thumbnail for Writers & Show Creators ^^ Writer

Irma Kalish on the process of writing with her husband Rocky and how they divvied up responsibilities

11:06
Embedded thumbnail for Historic Events and Social Change ^^ Diversity in Television ^^ Women

Irma Kalish on her status as a woman writer in the early days of television and the pressure to be "twice as good as a man" and how Rocky supported her career

02:24
Embedded thumbnail for Irma Kalish on how writing the All in the Family  episode dealing with cancer helped her friend, and impacted her feeling about her profession "you never know how many people you've touched"

Irma Kalish on how writing the All in the Family  episode dealing with cancer helped her friend, and impacted her feeling about her profession "you never know how many people you've touched"

05:06
Embedded thumbnail for Irma Kalish on her advice to aspiring writers

Irma Kalish on her advice to aspiring writers

02:16