News commentator, “Frasier” producer among hijacking victims

In the wake of Tuesday’s horrific tragedies, it has been confirmed that there were at least two entertainment professionals killed among the 266 people on board the four hijacked commercial planes–Barbara Olson, a prominent attorney and news commentator, and David Angell, one of the co-creators of NBC’s Frasier.

Attorney and news commentator Barbara Olson was on board the American Airlines Flight 77, which was flying from Washington Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles but crashed into the Pentagon.

Olson was able to make two phone calls from the plane to her husband, Ted Olson, the U.S. solicitor general. She only told him that the hijackers were armed with knives and cardboard cutters and were making the passengers and crew, including the pilot, go towards the back of the plane.

“What should I tell the pilots to do?” CNN reported Olson asking her husband, as reported by Variety.

Ted Olson immediately contacted the command center at the Justice Department with the information and told CNN that his wife had originally planned to fly Monday but delayed her travel to be with him Tuesday morning for his birthday. He told CNN, “I wish it wasn’t so but it is.”

Barbara Olson, 45, was a former federal prosecutor and served as chief investigative counsel to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. She was one of the investigators on the “Travelgate” scandal during the Clinton Administration.

She has also been a consultant and commentator for such news organizations as CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC and MSNBC.

Writer-producer David Angell, one of the co-creators of the television series Frasier and Wings, was on board American Airlines Flight 11 with his wife, Lynn, headed from Boston to Los Angeles. This plane was the first to crash, striking the north tower of the World Trade Center.

The Angells had been attending a family wedding in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area and were returning home.

Angell’s career began in 1983 when he joined Cheers as a staff writer, and he has been with Paramount Network Television ever since. He became partners with Peter Casey and David Lee in 1985, and the producing trio formed Grub Street Productions and created the hits Wings and then Frasier

In a statement on the Angells’ deaths, Paramount said: “Words cannot express our sorrow at this incredible loss. David has been at Paramount since 1983, and his talent, wit and humor will be deeply missed. We cherished our relationship with David and Lynn and our hearts go out to their family and friends, especially David’s partners Peter Casey and David Lee.”

Casey and Lee said in a separate statement: “David Angell was not only our partner, but also our friend for the past 16 years. He was a kind and gentle man with a quiet exterior that masked one of the sharpest comedic minds ever to write for television. His fingerprints are all over some of the funniest moments in Cheers, Wings and Frasier.”

“What few know is that he was also a man of great faith, a quality that allowed him to navigate the shoals of the entertainment industry with unusual grace and level-headedness. It was our privilege to have known and worked with him. David’s wife, Lynn, was the love of his life. She epitomized Southern graciousness and charm. As we write these words, it is still impossible for us to imagine that they are gone. We join their family and other friends in mourning their passing.”

Among the other victims were: Daniel Lewin, 31, the chief technology officer and founder of the Web content provider Akamai Technologies and actress Berry Berenson, 53, the widow of actor Anthony Perkins and sister of actress Marisa Berenson. Berry Berenson co-starred in the 1982 film Cat People and the TV miniseries Scruples. Both were on American Airlines Flight 11. Also Garnet “Ace” Bailey, 53, director of pro-scouting for the Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey team, who was on board United Airlines Flight 767, the plane that hit the WTC’s south tower.