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David Birney dead at 83: St Elsewhere and Bridget Loves Bernie star battled Alzheimer’s

David Birney dead at 83: Star of St Elsewhere and Bridget Loves Bernie passes away after Alzheimer’s battle

  • The longtime thespian passed away at his home in Santa Monica on Friday his lifer partner Michele Roberge told the New York Times 
  • He had battled Alzheimer’s for five years before succumbing aged 83 on April 29
  • After finding early success on Broadway, he landed a starring role on sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie in 1972 which was considered one of the most controversial television shows of the time 
  • It was short lived as Jewish groups protested the show as they disagreed with the ‘intermarriage’ between Birney’s character Bernie Steinberg and Meredith Baxter’s character Bridget Fitzgerald who was a Catholic grade school teacher
  •  Though their on-screen partnership did not work the two pursued a relationship as the couple – who were both divorcees – got married in 1974 and had three children together before divorcing in 1989 
  • However in 2011, the now 74-year-old actress released a memoir – titled Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering – in which she alleged Birney was emotionally and physically abusive
  • At the time Birney had vehemently denied those claims as he deemed them an ‘appalling abuse of the truth’

David Birney – an actor best known for his work on St Elsewhere and Bridget Loves Bernie – has died at 83 after a battle with Alzheimer’s.

 The longtime thespian passed away at his home in Santa Monica on Friday his lifer partner Michele Roberge told the New York Times.

He had battled Alzheimer’s for five years before succumbing aged 83 on April  29.

Sad news: David Birney – an actor best known for his work on St Elsewhere and Bridget Loves Bernie – has died at 83 after a battle with Alzheimer’s

Big gig: He starred on St Elsewhere in 1982  with Cynthia Sykes (bottom left), William Daniels (top left), and Ed Flanders (right)

Big gig: He starred on St Elsewhere in 1982  with Cynthia Sykes (bottom left), William Daniels (top left), and Ed Flanders (right) 

After finding early success on Broadway, he landed a starring role on sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie in 1972 which was considered one of the most controversial television shows of the time.

As the show was slotted between two massive hits – The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All In The Family – it was popular and got good ratings.

However, it was a short lived run as Jewish groups had protested the show as they disagreed with the ‘intermarriage’ between Birney’s character Bernie Steinberg and Meredith Baxter’s character Bridget Fitzgerald who was a Catholic grade school teacher who came from a wealth family.

Interesting: After finding early success on Broadway, he landed a starring role on sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie in 1972 which was considered one of the most controversial television shows of the time as he starred alongside Meredith Baxter who would become his wife

Interesting: After finding early success on Broadway, he landed a starring role on sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie in 1972 which was considered one of the most controversial television shows of the time as he starred alongside Meredith Baxter who would become his wife

Though their on-screen partnership did not work the two pursued a relationship as the couple – who were both divorcees – got married in 1974 and had three children together before divorcing in 1989.

However in 2011, the now 74-year-old actress released a memoir – titled Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering – in which she alleged Birney was emotionally and physically abusive.

At the time Birney had vehemently denied those claims as he deemed them an ‘appalling abuse of the truth.’

Not easy: Though their on-screen partnership did not work the two pursued a relationship as the couple - who were both divorcees - got married in 1974 and had three children together before divorcing in 1989, as they are seen together in 1984

Not easy: Though their on-screen partnership did not work the two pursued a relationship as the couple – who were both divorcees – got married in 1974 and had three children together before divorcing in 1989, as they are seen together in 1984

Birney’s highest profile role after the cancelled sitcom was as a regular castmember on the debut season of medical drama St Elsewhere. 

He played Dr. Ben Samuels on the show before leaving the series after one season to appear in Amadeus on Broadway.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk