Blind Co-creator of MTV Unplugged Hit and Killed by NYC Cab

December 27, 2017 Updated: October 5, 2018    

Jim Burns, the co-creator of the MTV show “Unplugged,” died on Tuesday, Dec. 26, after a taxi struck him three days earlier near his Manhattan home.

Burns, 65, was at least partially blind and was walking with his seeing eye companion dog, a police source told the New York Daily News.

When he was crossing Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side, a yellow taxi cab turned from East 87th Street and struck him at about 9:30 a.m.

The corner of East 87th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

Burns suffered a serious head injury and was rushed to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center where he later died.

The taxi driver remained at the scene and was interviewed by police, but wasn’t immediately charged, the New York Post reported.

Burns was a longtime writer and executive producer for MTV. In 1989 he created, with Robert Small, the show “Unplugged,” where musicians presented acoustic versions of their songs.

Lauryn Hill performing on ‘MTV Unplugged’ at the MTV Studios in New York City on July 21, 2001. (Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

Many famous musicians like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Mariah Carey recorded Unplugged concerts. The show produced over 100 episodes and had several runs, including a 2017 reboot.

Singer Jon Bon Jovi of the band Bon Jovi and singer LeAnn Rimes perform during a taping of MTV’s “Unplugged” at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, New York City on June 5, 2007. (Scott Gries/Getty Images for MTV)

“Unplugged” was Clapton’s best selling album with 26 records sold, his bassist Nathan East told Allmusic in a 2015 interview.

Burns was popular among his neighbors, one of the neighbors, Norah Daly, told The Post shortly after the accident.

“He’s the most amazing, amazing man,” she said. “The entire neighborhood just loves him. Every doorman in the area, every child, every dog owner in the park. He’s the most kind, generous, funny, witty man and he’s going to get better. He’s going to get better. … We’re all very close friends with him.”

The crossroad of East 87th Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

“MTV was deeply saddened to learn of Jim Burns’ passing,” the network wrote on Twitter. “As co-creator of the beloved ‘Unplugged’ franchise, his groundbreaking work continues to resonate with audiences around the world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.”

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