‘Frasier’ Lost Its Executive Producer on September 11 When His Plane Hit the World Trade Centers

September 11, 2001, was a national tragedy. Nearly 3,000 people died, New York City was left scarred, and it led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that destabilized countries and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. A lot was lost in the attacks, and the entertainment industry was not unaffected. Prominent figures from the industry were on the planes that were flown into the towers. Among these figures was David Lawrence Angell, the executive producer of Frasier.

Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane sitting on a couch in front of a cityscape
Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane | NBC/Getty Images

Who was David Lawrence Angell?

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Angell was a major television producer throughout the late 20th century. He got his start selling scripts for various sitcoms, including one for Archie Bunker’s Place, the short-lived successor to All in the Family. He started writing for Cheers in 1983, and two years later he became a supervising producer alongside Peter Casey and David Lee.

One decade later, the trio went on to create a spinoff of Cheers: Frasier. Both of these shows were incredibly popular and influential and earned the trio 37 Emmy nominations and 24 Emmy Awards. Along the way, in 1990, they created another hit sitcom: Wings. It’s clear that there was a lot of talent and hard work in this small group.

What happened to David Lawrence Angell on 9/11?

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On September 11, 2001, among 90 others, Angell and his wife, Lynn, boarded American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston. Also on the flight was actor Berry Berenson, while Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg, fortunately, missed the boarding time and canceled last minute, respectively.

The flight was meant to land in Los Angeles. However, two operatives of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda were also aboard the plane and hijacked it to fly it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Everybody on the plane was killed, and the North Tower was destroyed, killing many more. Many of the remains of the people who were aboard the planes and in the towers have not been identified, and the flight recorders were never found. 9/11 is and will remain one of the most tragic events to happen on American soil.

How did people respond?

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Angell’s name can be found among the names at the National September 11 Memorial where the North Tower once stood. Two weeks after the attacks, the next episode of Frasier to air featured a tribute to Angell at the end, and in the show’s finale, the son of Niles Crane and Daphne Moon was given the name David, in honor of Angell. His brother, Kenneth, who at the time was the Bishop of Burlington, Vermont, also spoke about the attacks and his feelings surrounding the loss of his younger brother.

In the late 1990s, the Angells formed a family foundation to help fund education and provide food security. For these philanthropic efforts, Angell was posthumously recognized and became the namesake of the American Screenwriters Association’s David Angell Humanitarian Award. It’s clear that Angell had a significant impact: on the people in his life, on the entertainment and television industries, and on the broader world. His loss, as was every other loss that happened on September 11, was a massive tragedy.