Tom Whedon, patriarch of the Whedon entertainment legacy and an Emmy-winning writer-producer on such popular TV shows as The Golden Girls, Benson and Alice and the father of filmmaker Joss Whedon, died Thursday. He was 83. His son Jed Whedon, co-creator and co-showrunner of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., announced the news in a post on Instagram:
Thomas Avery Whedon, 1932 – 2016.
We said goodbye to our dad yesterday. He passed away in relative peace surrounded by his wife, all five of his boys and their loved ones. He gave us the gift of his warmth and humor. We miss him terribly.
Love you dad.
A New York native and the son of TV writer John Whedon, Tom Whedon got his start writing for the beloved children’s series Captain Kangaroo in 1955 and years later would be head writer on The Electric Company, which made its debut in 1971.
His career spanned the decades. He penned two dozen episodes of the iconic show Alice starting in 1977, landed his first producing gig on season 2 of ABC’s Benson, writing half a dozen episodes himself. He wrote another two dozen episodes of the 1985-89 syndicated workplace comedy It’s a Living.
Thomas Whedon’s next project would be his most memorable. In 1989 he took the job of producer on The Golden Girls, NBC’s comedy about four retirees — Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty — living together in Miami. He earned a pair of Emmy nominationss for Outstanding Comedy Series for the show, which premiered in 1985 and ran for seven seasons.
Along with sons Joss and Jed, survivors include son Zach Whedon, a screenwriter on such TV shows as Halt and Catch Fire and Southland.
Thank you for all the wonderful memories, Thomas, and for the sons who will make many more for us all to share.