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Tom Davis, 'SNL' writer, dies at 59

This Feb. 25, 1978 image released by NBCU

This Feb. 25, 1978 image released by NBCU Photo Bank shows Tom Davis during "The Franken and Davis Show" skit on "Saturday Night Live." Davis, a writer who worked with Al Franken to develop some of the most popular skits in the early years of "Saturday Night Live" died July 19, 2012, of throat and neck cancer in New York. He was 59. Newsday's obituary for Tom Davis
Credit: AP

Tom Davis, a writer who with Al Franken helped develop some of the most popular skits in the early years of "Saturday Night Live," died yesterday at age 59.

His wife, Mimi Raleigh, said he died of throat and neck cancer at his home in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City. He was diagnosed in 2009.

Davis is best known as the thinner, taller partner in Franken and Davis, the off-kilter comedy duo who performed in the early years of the show. They also were among the first writers hired for the new show in 1975 and helped create memorable work such as the "Coneheads" skit with Dan Aykroyd and what evolved into the "Nick the Lounge Singer" skit starring Bill Murray performing lounge-lizard versions of songs including the "Star Wars" theme.

Raleigh said Davis and Franken "were two of the first writers hired -- with one salary." As performers, Davis was the quiet guy, overshadowed by the flashier Franken, who is now a Democratic senator from Minnesota.

Davis, in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, said, "If we were Sonny and Cher, he would be Cher."

Davis left the show in 1994, feeling frozen out. Still, he told the AP he would always treasure his time on the show.

"It's my family. It's my extended, dysfunctional family, and I love them," Davis said.

Davis kept up his quirky sense of humor to the end, writing an essay on his experiences with cancer and the coming end of his life.

"I wake up in the morning, delighted to be waking up, read, write, feed the birds, watch sports on TV, accepting the fact that in the foreseeable future I will be a dead person," Davis wrote. "I want to remind you that dead people are people too."

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