- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2008

David Groh, 68, TV actor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Groh, the handsome character actor who was best known as the easygoing man Rhoda Morgenstern married and divorced during the run of Valerie Harper’s 1970s hit sitcom “Rhoda,” died Feb. 12 of kidney cancer. He was 68.

Divorce was not a subject generally addressed on television in the 1970s, and when Mr. Groh’s character, Joe Gerard, and Miss Harper’s Rhoda Morgenstern split up during the show’s third season, viewers were stunned. Their marriage had resulted in one of the show’s highest-rated episodes, and when they split people sent them condolence cards.

The show began in 1974 as a spinoff from the hugely popular “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which was set in Minneapolis. “Rhoda” had Miss Harper’s character moving back home to New York City, where she met and married Joe.

Mr. Groh, who left the series after the divorce episodes, went on to appear in dozens of TV shows and films, as well as on Broadway, over the next 30 years.

He portrayed the nefarious D.L. Brock on the daytime soap opera “General Hospital” from 1983 to 1985 and had recurring roles on “Baywatch,” “Law & Order” and other shows.

His film credits included “Get Shorty,” “Two Minute Warning” and “Broken Vow,” and he appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two” and Jon Tolin’s “Twilight of the Golds.”

Mr. Groh attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art on a Fulbright scholarship. After a stint in the Army, he returned to New York to study at the Actors Studio.

Steve Gerber, 60, comic book writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Steve Gerber, the comic book writer and creator whose signature character was the alienated, cigar-chomping Howard the Duck, died Feb. 10 in a Las Vegas hospital from complications related to pulmonary fibrosis. He was 60.

Mr. Gerber also co-created Marvel’s “Omega the Unknown” and created the 1980s animated series “Thundarr the Barbarian.”

The “Howard the Duck” series became a fast hit after its January 1976 debut on Marvel and remains a cult favorite. Its lead, a disgruntled duck from another universe with a bombshell sidekick named Beverly “Thunder-Thighs” Switzler, was hailed as smart and subversive.

Mr. Gerber split with Marvel in 1978 amid a dispute over the rights to the character.

Mr. Gerber also worked in television as a story editor on “G.I. Joe” and “Dungeon & Dragons.”

More recently, Mr. Gerber and Mary Skrenes created “Hard Time” for DC Comics, the story of a 15-year-old boy convicted in a Columbine-like school shooting who discovers he has special powers.

Mr. Gerber was born in St. Louis and received a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University, before joining Marvel as an assistant editor in 1972.


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