Call Quincy, M.E. Apparently the TV coroner needs to perform an autopsy on another tube character, "Marcus Welby, M.D.," whose death is being reported widely in certain circles.
For anyone wanting to mourn in chilling, Nietzschean tones managed care's alleged depersonalization of healthcare, declaring the demise of the idealized, kindly TV doc has become de rigueur. The genial general practitioner made 9,000 house calls and never referred to his patients as "lives" during the ABC-TV series' run from 1969 to 1976.
"Dr. Marcus Welby is dead," declares David Sibley, a Texas state senator, explaining why he sponsored a bill allowing HMOs to be sued for malpractice.
Welby may be dead, but series star Robert Young--who clarified his life's work by stating in commercials, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV"--isn't. He turned 90 in February.