Ebersol had dropped off his wife, Kate & Allie star Susan Saint James, in snowy conditions when the private jet took off with him and the couple’s two sons.
It’s been 18 years since Dick Ebersol’s teen son died in a plane crash, and now he opens up about his darkest days and how his family healed.
In the early morning of Nov. 28, 2004, Ebersol’s private plane landed in Montrose, Colorado, to pick up his wife, Kate & Allie actress Susan Saint James. Then, in snowy conditions, the aircraft – which carried the couple’s two sons Teddy, 14, and Charlie, 21, along with a pilot and flight attendant – took off in snowy conditions.
Several hundred feet in the air, the jet skidded before crashing into a fence and hitting a barrier. Teddy and the plane’s crew died in the crash, while Ebersol and Charlie suffered severe injuries.
“I don’t think about [the crash] that day,” says Ebersol in the latest issue of People magazine. “But I think about Teddy. I still have conversations with him every day.”
As part of his new memoir, From Saturday Night to Sunday Night, and chronicling his pioneering work in creating NBC’s football and Saturday Night Live, He has written about the youngest son he adored and lost.
“The advice we could give any family who loses a child is to talk about it,” he added. “The more you engage your feelings and share them, the quicker you’ll begin to feel a sense of peace.”
Before the tragedy, Ebersol and Saint James had been vacationing in Los Angeles with their three boys, Charlie, Willie, and Teddy, along with Saint James’s son Harmony and daughter Sunshine from a previous marriage.
The actress says she will always be grateful for the family’s final days with Teddy.
“There are so many ways that these things can happen,” she says. “You can have an argument the night before, or you’re far away or working. It’s a whole another experience that we had because we could just remember the hilarious time that we had in L.A. Everybody has a really fond memory of that. Everybody said, “Oh, I love you. See you at Christmas. Goodbye.”
Four weeks after Teddy’s death, as the family opened the gifts Teddy had picked out, some of the light he always brought to their lives shone through.
There was an ”Ash-Hole” ashtray for his father, who loved cigars; a ”Tickets to the Gun show” shirt with arrows pointing at his biceps for Charlie. Willie got a shirt that read ”Good for the Ladies.”
“They were hilarious,” explains Saint James, 75. “It was like he was there.”
Willie, now 35, continues: “It was a gentle reminder that Teddy and his humor would be with us long after he left.”