(NEW YORK) — Comic writer Tom Davis — Al Franken’s writing and sketch partner during the early days of NBC’s Saturday Night Live — died Thursday in Hudson, N.Y., at the age of 59. The cause of death was throat and neck cancer, according to his wife, Mimi Raleigh.
The partnership of Tom Davis and Al Franken created some of SNL’s most memorable characters, including the “Coneheads,” and Bill Murray’s “Nick the Lounge Singer.”
In his 2009 memoir, entitled, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL From Someone Who Was There, Davis says he got the inspiration for the Conehead chracters after he took a trip to Easter Island with Dan Aykroyd and saw the massive stone statues.
Davis and Franken were with Saturday Night Live when it debuted in October 1975, but left in 1980, only to rejoin the show a few years later. Davis left again in the 1990s but continued contributing material until 2003.
Aykroyd told The New York Times Thursday that Davis made a “massive contribution” to Saturday Night Live.
Davis shared three Emmys for his SNL writing, and received a fourth for a 1977 Paul Simon TV special.
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Sara Stewart, CNN
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN