# Peg Lynch

Peg Lynch
Lynch with Alan Bunce as Ethel and Albert, 1954.
Born
Margaret Frances Lynch

November 25, 1916
DiedJuly 24, 2015 (aged 98)
OccupationActress, writer
Websitewww.peglynchrelaunched.com

Margaret Frances Lynch (November 25, 1916 – July 24, 2015) was an American writer, actress, and creator of the radio and television sitcoms Ethel and Albert, The Couple Next Door, and The Little Things in Life. She created, wrote, starred in and owned her own sitcom; she retained that ownership throughout her life. In total, Lynch wrote nearly 11,000 scripts for radio and television.

## Early life

Lynch was born in Lincoln, Nebraska.[1] Her father died of the Spanish flu when she was two years old, after which she and her mother moved back to Kasson, Minnesota, 15 miles west of Rochester, where her mother resumed her job as an orthopedic nurse at the Mayo Clinic. Lynch graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1937, majoring in English with an emphasis on writing and dramatics.

Lynch's start in radio began at age 15 when, working part-time as a receptionist at the Mayo Clinic, she agreed to help out at KROC in Rochester, a radio station belonging to a classmate's father, by writing copy and interviewing celebrities who were in town (usually to visit the Clinic) including Lou Gehrig, Jeanette MacDonald, Knute Rockne and Ernest Hemingway. Soon after she graduated from college, she landed a job at KATE in Albert Lea, Minnesota, about 40 miles southwest of Rochester. She earned $65 per month, in theory as a copywriter, but she also wrote commercials, a daily half-hour woman's show, a weekly half-hour theatre show, a weekly farm news program, and three 10-minute plays and two five-minute sketches per week. ## Ethel and Albert It was at KATE that Lynch first introduced the husband and wife characters of Ethel and Albert, born as a three-minute "filler" sketch in her woman's show. She soon discovered that a husband-wife format could be adopted to sell a variety of products. Lynch played Ethel and a station announcer played Albert. After four months at KATE, Lynch moved to WCHV in Charlottesville, Virginia, and then on to WTBO in Cumberland, Maryland in 1941, continuing to develop Ethel and Albert as she went, and expanding it at WTBO into a five-times-per-week, 15-minute evening feature. Willis Conover played Albert.[2] In February 1944, with$500 in her pocket, Lynch moved to New York City. Within a month she received an offer from NBC radio to air her show. Lynch refused the offer, however, on the grounds that Ethel and Albert was the only thing she owned and didn't want to part with it. Shortly thereafter, NBC sold the Blue Network (later to become ABC Television network) to Edward John Noble, who owned the Life Savers candy company. Noble was looking for a daytime comedy show that was not a soap opera and had a storyline that would wrap-up each day.

Ethel and Albert fit the bill and within the month, on April 17, 1944, was reborn as a five-day-a-week, 15-minute show on national radio. Lynch was asked to play Ethel, she refused, actresses were auditioned, none found suitable, and Lynch was signed to play the role. Richard Widmark played Albert for six months until he was replaced by Alan Bunce. Bunce co-starred with Lynch for the next twenty years not only in Ethel and Albert, but also as their radio counterparts in The Couple Next Door. The partnership lasted until Bunce's death in 1965. Ethel and Albert continued as a fifteen-minute show until 1949 when it was expanded to a half hour. The show moved into commercial television in 1950 as a ten-minute segment on The Kate Smith Hour and in April 1953 became a half-hour program on the NBC network. The show was well received by both the public and the critics. Margaret Hamilton was a regular on the show, playing Albert's aunt. Kay Gardella of the New York Daily News wrote that Ethel and Albert was "generally regarded as the top domestic comedy on TV. The warm, realistic characterizations and situations of this stanza reflect the personality of its creator. Peg is completely down to earth and so are her scripts". Jack Gould of The New York Times gave credit to the show and its creator-writer when he wrote "The author of Ethel and Albert, of course, is Miss Lynch herself. She has lost none of her uncanny knack for catching the small situation in married life and developing it into a gem of quiet humor. The charm of Ethel and Albert is that they could be man and wife off the screen."

## Private life

Peg Lynch married Odd Knut Ronning (1918-2014), a Norwegian pulp and paper engineer in Manhattan on August 12, 1948. The couple have a daughter, Astrid Ronning King, also a writer, married to composer Denis King, and one grandchild, Alexander, a musician.

Peg Lynch lived in Becket, Massachusetts, and continued to write, revisiting the characters of Ethel and Albert as a couple in their 90s. Lynch died on July 24, 2015 in Becket at the age of 98, following a sudden and unexplained decline in health.[3][4]

## References

1. ^ "Peg Lynch Makes Words Pay". Kansas, Leavenworth. The Leavenworth Times. October 20, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved February 4, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
2. ^ "Willis Was Once Peg Lynch's 'Albert'". Maryland, Cumberland. Cumberland Sunday Times. August 4, 1985. p. 65. Retrieved February 4, 2016 – via Newspaperarchive.com.
3. ^ Weber, Bruce (July 27, 2015). "Peg Lynch, Writer and Star of Early Situation Comedy, Dies at 98". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
4. ^ "Peg Lynch profile". areavoices.com. July 26, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.

This page was last updated at 2019-11-15 04:04 UTC. . View original page.

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