Don Rhymer, local TV and film writer, dies at 51

Don Rhymer, 51, a prolific writer for television and movies, whose credits include the animated hits "Rio" and "Surf's Up," died Wednesday of cancer at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, said longtime friend Dave Gallagher.

Born in Union, S.C., on Feb. 23, 1961, Rhymer began working in television in the early 1980s, after graduating from Virginia's James Madison University, where he majored in English and communications.

One of his first credits was writing an episode of the ABC family sitcom "Valerie." He also wrote for the CBS comedies "Evening Shade" and "Hearts Afire."

In the early 1990s he shifted into movies, starting with the Martin Lawrence comedy "Big Momma's House" (2000), which he wrote with Darryl Quarles. Rhymer and Quarles teamed up again to write the sequel, "Big Momma's House 2" (2006). Rhymer co-wrote the story for a third installment, "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son" (2011).

His other writing credits include "The Santa Clause 2" (2002), "Agent Cody Banks 2" (2004), "The Honeymooners" (2005), "Surf's Up" (2007) and "Rio" (2011).

After being diagnosed with head and neck cancer three years ago, Rhymer, a La Cañada Flintridge resident, launched a blog called "Let's Radiate Don," a wry and often touching commentary on his bouts with the disease, the grueling treatments and his relationships with his wife, Kate, and their three children.

He wrote an article about dealing with other people's reactions to his illness in the October issue of Coping With Cancer magazine. He most dreaded "sad eyes" and macaroni casseroles, which, he noted, "are not gluten free and are bad for my colon."

-- Los Angeles Times

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