Madelyn Pugh (March 15, 1921 – April 20, 2011), sometimes credited as Madelyn Pugh Davis, Madelyn Davis, or Madelyn Martin, was a television writer who became known in the 1950s for her work on the I Love Lucy television series.
A native of Indiana, Pugh became interested in writing while serving as editor of the Shortridge High School newspaper in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the Indiana University School of Journalism in 1942. Her first professional writing job was writing short radio spots for WIRE, an Indianapolis radio station.
When her family moved to California, she got work as a radio writer, first for NBC and then CBS, where she met Bob Carroll. Pugh credits some of her breakthrough as "the girl writer" to the war effort, which limited the pool of qualified male writers. Early in her career, she was frequently the only female writer on staff.
Early in her career, as a staff writer for CBS Radio in Hollywood, Pugh forged a partnership with Bob Carroll, Jr. which lasted more than 50 years. Together they wrote some 400 television programs and roughly 500 radio shows. While the team was writing for The Steve Allen Show, they became interested in writing for Lucille Ball's new radio show, My Favorite Husband. They paid Allen to write his own show one week so they could focus on creating a script submission for My Favorite Husband. Under the supervision of head writer Jess Oppenheimer, the pair wrote Ball's radio program for its 2½ years.
Pugh and Carroll helped create a vaudeville act for Lucille Ball and her husband, Desi Arnaz, which became the basis for the pilot episode of I Love Lucy. Together with Oppenheimer and/or Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf, who joined the show at the beginning of the fifth year, the team tackled 39 episodes per season for the run of the series. Although they never won, Pugh and Carroll were nominated for three Emmy Awards for their work on the series.
Pugh and Carroll are credited with helping create the 'Lucy' character, which Ball played in one form or another for over 40 years. The pair also wrote episodes for The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show (aka The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour) and Ball's final series, the unsuccessful Life With Lucy (1986).
The pair's other writing credits include work on the television series The Paul Lynde Show, Dorothy, Those Whiting Girls, Kocham Klane (an I Love Lucy series remake in Poland) and The Tom Ewell Show. They also worked on the films Forever, Darling and Yours, Mine and Ours, starring Ball. They created and wrote the Desi Arnaz Productions series The Mothers-in-Law (filmed atDesilu), which starred actresses Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden. The two served for seven years as Executive Producers of the long-running television series Alice and occasionally contributed scripts, one of which was awarded a Golden Globe Award.
In September 2005, Madelyn Pugh Davis, who lived in California, released her memoirs titled Laughing with Lucy. She included Bob Carroll, Jr. as a contributor to the authorship of her memoirs.
Pugh was married twice, first to TV producer Quinn Martin, with whom she had a son, Michael Quinn Martin, and, secondly, to Richard Davis.
Cover of Laughing with Lucy
Madelyn Pugh Davis died on April 20, 2011, aged 90, in Bel Air, California.
- Pugh Davis, Madelyn; Bob Carroll, Jr. (September 1, 2005). Laughing with Lucy: My Life with America's Leading Lady of Comedy. Emmis Book. ISBN 1-57860-247-5.