Steve O'Donnell (writer)
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Known for||Late Night with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Chris Rock Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Simpsons, Seinfeld|
|Relatives||Mark O’Donnell (twin brother)|
He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated with an A.B. degree from Harvard College in 1976. He also did graduate studies in American history at Columbia University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He was in the David Letterman show almost since the beginning. The Top Ten List was invented while he was head writer of the show, and he wrote the lists in collaboration with the other writers of the show. According to O'Donnell, the Top Ten List was an "almost simultaneous inspiration arriving from staffers Jim Downey, Randy Cohen and Robert “Morty” Morton — largely prompted by the ridiculous 'eligible bachelor' lists in a local New York paper that included the 84-year-old Bill Paley. 'Why, we can put such nonsense together ourselves!' we exclaimed. And we did." He later co-authored several of the Top-ten books based in the show. During Letterman’s final season, O’Donnell wrote and spoke about his time as head writer on the show, and compiled his own list of the show’s “top ten” moments for The New York Times.
He is the identical twin of Mark O'Donnell, the Tony-award winning co-writer of the Broadway musical Hairspray who died on August 6, 2012. Steve supported his brother by encouraging California voters to vote no on Prop. 8 in 2008.
He won Primetime Emmy Awards in the "Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program" category on four occasions: for Late Night with David Letterman in 1984, 1986 and 1987 and for The Chris Rock Show in 1998.
Simpsons episodes written by O'Donnell
Seinfeld episodes written by O'Donnell
- "Interview with Steve & Mark O'Donnell". The Believer. August 2004. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
- Steve O’Donnell (2015-05-07), "David Letterman's Top Ten On Air Moments", New York Times
- Sources for top-ten list:
- Gliatto, Tom (1990-08-27), "And the No.1 Reason David Letterman Keeps Reading the Top 10 List–Well, It's Funnier Than His Monologue", People, 34 (8)
- Larry McShane, Associated Press (1991-11-02), "Letterman lists take country by storm", Reading Eagle
- Phil Rosenthal (2009-12-13), "No chance of a list-less columnist this time of year", Chicago Tribune
- Mendoza, Manuel (2006-02-04). "Inside 'Kimmel Live'". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
- Kennedy, Mark. "'Hairspray' co-writer Mark O'Donnell dies at 58". Boston.com.
- "'Writer Steve O'Donnell Says NO on Prop. 8'". Retrieved 2016-06-02.
- "Awards for Steve O'Donnell". IMDB. Retrieved 2010-01-22.