Geoff Neigher

Geoff NeigherGeoff Neigher died August 10, 2023. “He had a remarkable college career,” says Tom Jones. “A Berkeley resident and an English major, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year and was tapped by Skull and Bones. He sang with the Yale Glee Club, the Spizzwinks, and the Whiffenpoofs. After college he entered Yale Law School.

“He might have had a distinguished legal career, but after a relatively brief time with a Wall Street firm he made a surprising career change in 1974. He moved to Los Angeles to launch a writing career with his friend Chick Mitchell, ‘66. They collaborated on a number of situation comedies including The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and Gimme a Break, rising from episode writers to senior writers to executive producers.

“Following Chick’s untimely death, Geoff moved from writing half-hour sit-coms to hour-length dramas, a transition very few writers have made successfully. He wrote episodes for Northern Exposure and wrote and produced Picket Fences, Murder One, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and John Doe. In1993 Geoff was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for Northern Exposure. The following year he won the 1994 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for Picket Fences.

“The Whiffenpoofs of 1967 have stayed particularly close over the years, not only performing for our classmates at reunions but getting together with our wives annually for the past ten years. Geoff was always at the heart of those gatherings. He had a knack for making you feel better. You felt you had his total and undivided attention. He was unfailingly warm and generous. He could always make you laugh, sometimes even at yourself. Somehow, he knew just when you needed a phone call. We have never had a better friend.

“And Geoff could sing! He had a voice like velvet, smooth and expressive. No concert was complete without Geoff singing Doug MacNeill’s arrangement of ‘Don’t Blame Me.’ The Whiffs will sing again, but it will never, ever be the same. Geoff leaves his beloved wife Karen, his son Eric, his daughter Julie and two grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by his band of brothers – the Whiffs of ’67 – and by his many, many friends.”