‘Martin’ co-creator and ‘In Living Color’ screenwriter was 64 – The Hollywood Reporter

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John Bowman, who co-created the Martin Lawrence sitcom Martin, was the editor-in-chief of the revolutionary project In Living Color and worked on other shows including Saturday Night Live, Brown murphy and The Hughleys, is dead. He was 64 years old.

Emmy-winning producer and writer Bowman passed away suddenly Tuesday at his Santa Monica home, his son Johnny Bowman Jr.

As chairman of the WGA bargaining committee during the 2007-08 writers ‘strike, Bowman helped secure a settlement that, for the first time, shared producers’ internet streaming revenues with film and film writers. television.

“In the Writers’ Room, John was a mentor to so many young writers of color, many of us who had our first professional concerts with him,” Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley said in a statement. “Outside the room he was tireless in his efforts to achieve fair working conditions for all writers. What John gave to the writing community will last for decades. “

One of six children, John Frederick Bowman was born in Milwaukee on September 28, 1957. He attended White Fish Bay High School and in 1980 graduated from Harvard, where he was editor of The Harvard Pamphlet.

After earning his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1985, Bowman went to work as a junior executive at PepsiCo. “I’d be the funniest lawyer or businessman in the room, which gets you nowhere,” he once said.

He joined Saturday Night Live in 1988 and shared the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program with the likes of Mike Myers, Conan O’Brien, Bob Odenkirk and Phil Hartman.

In 1990 Bowman became one of the first white writers on In Living Color, the Fox comedy sketch series created by Keenen Ivory Wayans, and was promoted to chief writer within a year.

He and Lawrence went on to create Martin, which featured the comic as Detroit DJ Martin Payne and aired on Fox for five seasons from 1992 to 1997. It was a big hit – despite interference from those responsible for standards and practices.

“The language of this show is uncompromising blacker than any other show,” Bowman said. Weekly entertainment in 1992. “But you find yourself in the most absurd discussions with the censors. I think we are all frustrated.

“John understood my vision,” Lawrence said in a statement. “There was nothing too big or too small to confuse him, which made working together a great experience. “

Tisha Campbell added, who played Gina, Payne’s girlfriend, “John Bowman was one of the nicest, kindest producers I’ve worked with. I remember the first time I improvised on the show and I ran over to John saying, “I have a pitch.” He was so encouraging. He pushed me to be fearless when it comes to comedy. I am so grateful forever.

In the 1990s, Bowman also wrote for This is the Garry Shandling show, The prince of Bel-Air, Brown murphy – he was also an executive producer for the last four seasons of the original CBS series – and The Hughleys.

He then co-created two more comedy sketches with Matt Wickline: Fox’s Cédric the artist presents and TBS ‘ Franck TV, with Frank Caliendo.

In 2006, Bowman was elected to the WGAW Board of Directors. “John was the rare comedy writer with an MBA,” noted The simpsons writer George Meyer. “He could tell you exactly how you got fucked.”

Bowman went on to teach screenplay form and comedy sketch writing as an adjunct faculty member at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her last class ended just a few weeks ago.

Survivors include his wife of 39, Shannon Gaughan, a television screenwriter (also for SNL) and producer; children Johnny Jr., Courtney, Nicholas, Alec and Jesse; and siblings William, James Bowman and Susan.

A private Mass is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 8 at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, with a memorial service to be held this spring.


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