TV and movie writer loses cancer battle

Friends and La Cañada Flintridge neighbors turned out at La Cañada Presbyterian Church on Monday to bid farewell to resident Don Rhymer, a noted television and movie writer who chronicled his bout with cancer on his own humorous and insightful blog, “Let's Radiate Don.”

Rhymer, 51, died of cancer on Nov. 29 at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, according to friends. Rhymer wrote for several television shows, including the comedies “Valerie” and “Hearts Afire,” before moving onto movies and having success with the “Big Momma's House” series of comedies, “The Santa Clause,” “Rio” and several other films.

At a memorial service Monday, he was remembered for the great relationships he nurtured during his 20 years as a La Cañada resident.

“Don was the quiet hero,” friend Brian Brightly said in one of the many eulogies that touched on Rhymer's friendships and courage.

His blog was a mixture of humor and insight into the life of a person undergoing intensive medical treatment and honesty about the pain he was in.

In one entry he said it was the commute to treatment in Santa Monica, not the disease, that was sapping his life energy. He also celebrated the arrival of a comfortable lounge chair.

“You know the one, the La-Z-Boy, old man, fully automatic, cancer sleeping chair. Not gonna lie, have been dealing with a lot of intense pain, coughing, no appetite, fevers etc. etc. in the last few weeks, but all that ends” with the arrival of the chair, he wrote.

After his death, his wife Kate wrote a note on the blog,, to chronicle his last days and thank his friends and readers.

“Even from a bed in the ICU he was urging his family to remember the many blessings we have, and to give each other grace,” she wrote.

In addition to his wife he is survived by his three children, Andrew, Molly and Carrie.

Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine contributed to this article.

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