TVs Bridget Loves Bernie star David Birney dies after Alzheimers battle

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Bridget Loves Bernie star David Birney has died at the age of 83 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimers disease, his life partner confirmed.

Michele Roberge told The New York Times that the Irish American passed away on Friday (April 29) at his family home in Santa Monica, California.

She explained to the publication how the Broadway actor was first diagnosed with the condition back in 2017.

The classically trained actor was best known for his role in the short-lived TV sitcom where he starred across from his future wife Meredith Baxter in 1972.

In the show, he played the role of Bernie Steinberg, a Jewish taxicab driver and struggling writer in a loving interfaith marriage to Bridget Fitzgerald, a teacher from a wealthy Roman Catholic family.

At the time, CBS gave Bridget Loves Bernie a plum slot after they saw a huge spike in ratings from the popular sitcom where it consistently finished within the top ten programmes in prime time television and was the highest rated new show of the season.

However, he soon faced public criticism from many Jewish communities who objected to its portrayal if intermarriage and claimed the show utilised Jewish stereotypes which led to it being cancelled.

Birney went on to wed his co-star Meredith in 1974, and the couple went on to welcome three children together before the pair divorced in 1989.

He was also an established theatre actor, appearing in productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival and on Broadway where he performed in Amadeus and Man and Superman.

The actor also portrayed classical roles on the stage including Hamlet, Macbeth and Richard III, as well as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird and Algernon Moncrieff in Oscar's Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

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