Ed Friendly

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Ed Friendly
Ed Friendly.jpg
Edwin Samson Friendly, Jr.[1]

April 8, 1922
DiedJune 17, 2007(2007-06-17) (aged 85)
OccupationTelevision producer
Years active1949-2005
Known forCo-creating/creating and developing Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Little House on the Prairie, and Backstairs at the White House
Spouse(s)Paula Zinnemann (2003 - 2007) (his death)
Natalie Brooks Coulson [1] (1952 - 2002) (her death) (2 children)

Edwin "Ed" Samson Friendly Jr.[1] (April 8, 1922 – June 17, 2007) was an American television producer. He was responsible for creating the television programs Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Little House on the Prairie, and Backstairs at the White House.[2]

Born in New York City, Ed Friendly served with the United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. After the war, he worked at the advertising agency of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. He began his television career in 1949, working for ABC as director of sales before moving to CBS as a contract producer and then, in 1959, to NBC as vice president of special programs.[2]

Friendly moved to California in 1967 and formed his own production company, Ed Friendly Productions, Inc. He received the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1975 for Little House on the Prairie and in 1978 for Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion, an adaptation of the 1972 children's novel San Domingo, the Medicine Hat Stallion by Marguerite Henry.

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

Friendly was introduced to thoroughbred horse racing ownership in 1970 when he bought a racehorse in partnership with his close friend Lorne Greene. He subsequently expanded his racing interest, partnering with his first wife, Natalie, in a large stable of horses. Some of their successful horses include:

A founding member of the National Thoroughbred Association, Friendly established the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 1993.[3] He also served as the president of California Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.[4]

Personal/Family life[edit]

Friendly married the former Natalie Brooks Coulson[1] on January 31, 1952; the couple remained married for 50 years, until her death on May 9, 2002. With his wife Natalie, Friendly was well known on the Southern California Thoroughbred racing circuit. Among his successful horses were Friendly Michelle, Gray Slewpy and Vivid Angel. He had purchased his first racehorse about 1970 in partnership with his close friend, actor Lorne Greene, and later often owned more than 60 horses at a time.[2] They had 2 children; their daughter, Brooke Friendly,[5] is the director of the Ashland Center for Theatre Studies at Southern Oregon University. Their son Edwin S. Friendly III, who is known as "Trip", is a former Ticketmaster International executive who had been developing projects with his father.[2] After his first wife's passing, Friendly married the former Zinemann on November 27, 2003; they remained married until his death.


Friendly died in 2007 at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California [2] He was survived by his second wife, Paula, his children, and three granddaughters.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "Natalie (Brooks) Coulson Friendly Obituary". geni.com. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Los Angeles Times, "Ed Friendly, 85; helped bring 'Laugh-In' and 'Little House' to TV" June 20, 2007
  3. ^ TOC co-founder Friendly dies, by Matt Hegarty, from the Daily Racing Form; published June 21, 2007; archived at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association; retrieved November 3, 2013
  4. ^ California Breeder/Owner Ed Friendly Dies, at BloodHorse.com; published June 22, 2007; retrieved November 3, 2013
  5. ^ a b "LA Times Obituary: Natalie B. Friendly". Los Angeles Times (www.legacy.com). May 19, 2002. Retrieved February 6, 2018.

External links[edit]