Friday, February 15, 2008
David Groh, 1939-2008
David Groh, the Chico Marx-looking actor best known as Rhoda's boyfriend/fiance/husband/ex on her eponymous sitcom, dead at the age of 68. Groh graduated from Brown Phi Beta Kappa, then studied in England on a Fulbright. (IMDB, by the way, has him born in 1941, which would have him entering Brown at 16. The New York Times obit birthdate of 1939 is much more plausible.)
Groh's Joe Gerard married Rhoda in the series' eighth episode, a ratings bonanza that featured much of the old Mary Tyler Moore Show cast as well as Rhoda taking the subway to her wedding in her wedding dress. Much was made of the fact that Joe Gerard was not Jewish, although Valerie Harper herself was not Jewish, so what's the big deal?
Rhoda and Joe separated in the first episode of Season Three, and divorced shortly thereafter, a result of - depending on whom you read - either slipping ratings or the desire on the part of the writers to construct more single-gal plots. If it was really the latter, it was a stupid idea, because Rhoda's ratings continued to slide, although the show limped on for two more years, Groh-less. David Groh went on to a career of guest shots on mediocre dramas and straight-to-cable movies.
His dying words were, "Lawrence Pressman lives on."