2007 TV Necrology

February 1, 2008

Below is a list of some of the people who passed away in 2007 and whose careers connected with “classic TV” in some way.  It’s not meant to be a hundred percent all-inclusive, but if anyone spots a name I missed, post it in the comments section.

Writers
Jan 1: A. I. Bezzerides, co-creator of Big Valley
Jan 9: Laurence Heath, writer/producer for Mission: Impossible and The Magician
Jan 27: Bob Carroll, Jr., I Love Lucy legend. 
Jan 30: Sidney Sheldon, creator of I Dream of Genie
Feb 9: Elliott Baker, live TV writer (U.S. Steel Hour, Way Out).
Mar 18: Jack B. Sowards, specialist in late-period westerns (Bonanza, High Chaparral).
Apr 6: Stan Daniels, Mary Tyler Moore Show writer and co-creator of Taxi.
Apr 9: A. J. Carothers, story editor (Studio One) and writer (My Three Sons).
Apr 13: Gail Ingram, live TV vet (Mama, Big Story) and My Three Sons rewrite guru.
May 6: Cynthia Lindsay, who wrote some My Three Sons and Family Affairs.
Jun 16: Wanda Duncan, who wrote a lot of Irwin Allen shows with her husband Bob.
Jun 17: Robert Vincent Wright, writer of many Mavericks and Bonanzas.
Jun 21: Suzanne Holland, ’60s soap opera writer.
Jun 23: Glenn Wolfe, who wrote two Perry Masons with Sol Stein.
Jul 27: David Shaw, prolific writer for nearly every major live dramatic anthology and story editor on The Defenders.
Aug 8: Melville Shavelson, screenwriter who produced My World and Welcome to It.
Aug 17: Max Hodge, industrial show writer who turned to TV (Girl From UNCLE, Batman).
Aug 25: Jim Carlson, Laugh-In writer turned’70s action scribe (Battlestar Galactica).
Sep 6: Sidney Ellis, action journeyman (Bonanza, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea).
Sep 19: Robert Sabaroff, Star Trek writer and Then Came Bronson producer.
Oct 17: Harry Kleiner, versatile drama/action writer (Bus Stop, Checkmate, The Virginian).
Oct 18: J. T. Gollard, who co-wrote one episode of The Fugitive.
Nov 7: George W. George, prolific action writer (The Rifleman, Adventures in Paradise) with his wife Judy.
Nov 9Francine Carroll, creator of Amy Prentiss.
Nov 12: Ira Levin, novelist/playwright who began as a busy live TV writer (Lights Out, U.S. Steel Hour).
Nov 18: Hollis Alpert, film critic who co-wrote one Johnny Staccato.
Nov 26: Mel Tolkin, Your Show of Shows head writer.
Dec 14: Jack Gross, Jr., sitcom writer (Gilligan’s Island).
Dec 19: James Costigan, Hallmark Hall of Fame mainstay and Emmy winner for TV movies.
Dec 31: Bill Idelson, one of the major Andy Griffith Show contributors.

Directors
Feb 18: Jack Wood, Emmy-winning soap opera director (All My Children).
Mar 3: Sutton Roley, action director (Combat, Mannix) renowned for his visual flair.
Mar 15: Stuart Rosenberg, the top dramatic TV director in the early ’60s (Naked City, The Defenders, Chrysler Theater).
May 6: Curtis Harrington, indie horror filmmaker who directed TV movies and episodes (Charlie’s Angels) in the ’70s.
May 11: Norman Frank, live TV director/producer (The Jonathan Winters Show, Wide Wide World).
Jun 11: Bill Glenn, TV documentary director who became big in soaps (Young and the Restless).
Jun 26: Ron Weyman, top CBC director (Wojeck) who did a few US shows (Adventures in Paradise).
Aug 11: Richard Compton, ex-actor turned action director (Miami Vice).
Aug 27: Richard Heffron, ’70s film director who did the pilots for Toma and The Rockford Files.
Oct 26: Bernard L. Kowalski, prolific A-list director (Rawhide, Columbo) who launched Mission: Impossible.
Nov 11: Delbert Mann, Philco Television Playhouse staffer famous for “Marty.”
Dec 21: John McPherson, cinematographer (an Emmy winner for Amazing Stories) and director (Incredible Hulk, Alien Nation).

Actors
Jan 8: Yvonne DeCarlo, Lily Munster.
Jan 13: Larkin Ford (aka Will West), purported last survivor of live “Twelve Angry Men” cast.
Jan 16: Ron Carey, annoying Barney Miller regular.
Jan 27: Tige Andrews, Detectives supporting cop and Mod Squad‘s Captain Greer.
Jan 31: Lee Bergere, character actor who played Abe Lincoln in a Star Trek.
Feb 4: Barbara McNair, black singer and ’60s ingenue who had her own variety show.
Feb 14: Lee Patterson, top-billed star of Surfside 6 (reported in the media some eight months after his death).
Feb 15: Walker Edmiston, voice actor also in many authority-figure bits in the ’60s.
Feb 19: Janet Blair, ’40s movie star turned live TV ingenue.
Feb 24: Bruce Bennett, ex-Tarzan who guest-starred on a lot of ’50s and ’60s shows.
Mar 1: Eddie Firestone, diminutive supporting player in hundreds of TV episodes.
Mar 11: Betty Hutton, ’40s movie star who had an eponymous sitcom.
Mar 15: Alice Backes, tall small-part actress, a secretary or spinster aunt in many sitcoms.
Mar 20: John P. Ryan, eccentric character actor, often a villain or cop in ’70s TV.
Mar 21: John Zaccaro, early ’60s bit player.
Mar 22: Angus Duncan, bit actor/second lead active on TV from the ’60s through the ’90s.
Apr 1: Salem Ludwig, blacklisted New York character actor, a recurring D.A. on The Defenders.
Apr 2: Paul Reed, comic actor, the boss on The Cara Williams Show, recurring on Car 54.
Apr 7: Barry Nelson, square-faced star of ’50s live anthologies and My Favorite Husband.
Apr 11: Roscoe Lee Browne, imposing black character actor, recurring on Soap.
Apr 19: Bob Miles, frequent bit player (and Michael Landon’s stunt double) on Bonanza.
Apr 24: Roy Jenson, sneering supporting villain in many westerns and QM shows.
Apr 28: Dabbs Greer, resident clergyman on Little House on the Prairie and Picket Fences, a quintessential small-part character actor at his best in infrequent heavy roles.
Apr 29: Andre Philippe, Cricket’s bandleader on Hawaiian Eye and a teacher on Mr. Novak.
Apr 30: Tom Poston, Steve Allen regular and Newhart sidekick.
May 6: Maurice Marsac, French-accented bit actor who played many a headwaiter.
May 7: Shirl Conway, star of The Nurses. Arch Whiting, one of the crewmen on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
May 9: Beau Van Den Ecker, stuntman/bit player on Combat and Hawaii Five-O.
May 27: Gretchen Wyler, stage actress in an occasional TV guest role.
Jun 11: Mala Powers, film ingenue turned guest star on many Perry Masons and Warner Bros. westerns & private eye shows.
Jun 16: Joe di Reda, busy bit actor.
Jun 21: Carlos Romero, Mexican supporting player with a devilish grin.
Jul 9: Charles Lane, TV’s oldest old man and Petticoat Junction‘s Homer Bedloe.
Jul 11: Rod Lauren, ’60s juvenile lead guest star and real-life murder suspect/suicide.
Jul 12: Maury Hill, veteran bit player from live TV (Space Patrol).
Jul 17: Bart Burns, actual last survivor of live “Twelve Angry Men” cast. 
Jul 19: Laura Devon, beautiful ’60s blonde, an underutilized ingenue and member of the Richard Boone Show repertory.
Aug 3: James Callahan, perpetual guest star and recurring Dr. Kildare intern.
Aug 21: Terri Messina, cute bit player in late ’60s shows. 
Aug 24: Bill Catching, veteran stunt man who spoke a line or two in many ’60s shows.
Aug 28: Miyoshi Umeki, ethnic-stereotype housekeeper on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.
Sep 3: Steve Ryan, Tige Andrews lookalike and Crime Story supporting cop.
Sep 4: Michael Evans, British-born bit player.
Sep 6: Percy Rodrigues, black lead guest actor of the ’60s and ’70s.
Sep 10: Jane Wyman, ’40s movie star who hosted the Fireside Theatre.
Sep 15: Brett Somers, Match Game panelist and TV guest star (Defenders, Odd Couple).
Sep 18: Sallie Brophy, busy ’50s and early ’60s supporting actress.
Sep 21: Alice Ghostley, comic character actress who was one of Bewitched‘s witches.
Oct 2: George Grizzard, essential everyman actor of the ’60s, in important TV roles from The Twilight Zone to Law and Order.
Oct 9: Carol Bruce, WKRP in Cincinnati‘s Mama Carlson.
Oct 12: Lonny Chapman, hoarse-voiced character actor, ubiquitous on The Defenders, ’50s live anthologies, cop shows & westerns.
Oct 14: Sigrid Valdis, Colonel Klink’s sexy secretary on Hogan’s Heroes.
Oct 17: Joey Bishop, star of an eponymous ’60s sitcom.
Oct 21: Vic Ramos, bit actor in ’60s New York shows and later a major casting director.
Oct 25: Lyn Statten, small-part actress in ’50s and early ’60s TV shows.
Oct 30: Robert Goulet, the star of Blue Light.
Nov 10: Laraine Day, ’40s movie star turned frequent TV guest star (Hitchcock, Wagon Train).
Nov 14: Michael Blodgett, who played a lot of hippies in late ’60s shows.  Ronnie Burns, briefly a juvenile lead in the ’50s and played himself on father George’s series.
Nov 19: Dick Wilson, sitcom bit player made famous by some TV ads.
Nov 28: Jeanne Bates, Ben Casey‘s Nurse Wills and a familiar supporting player.
Dec 5: Joe Brooks, F Troop supporting player.
Dec 23: Michael Walker, sixties juvenile lead (Perry Mason, Ironside).

Other Creative People
Jan 1: Howard Kunin, film editor (Gidget, Cannon).
Jan 4: Richard Belding, head film editor for Universal TV during the late ’60s.  Steve Krantz, network exec and producer.
Jan 27: Claude Binyon Jr., assistant director on The Outer Limits and Get Smart.
Jan 30: Karl Messerschmidt, longtime technical director at NBC (The Dean Martin Show).
Feb 6: Frankie Laine, sang the Rawhide theme and appeared in a few ’60s shows.
Feb 27: Meryl Abeles (O’Loughlin), casting director (Outer Limits, The Fugitive) and casting exec for MTM Productions.
Mar 4: Robert Prince, top ’70s composer of incidental scores (Mannix, Night Gallery, Name of the Game).
Apr 1: Tom Moore, network president who dumbed down ABC from 1962-1969.
Apr 23: Bob Moore, film editor (Dobie Gillis, I Spy, Good Morning World).
May 14: William W. Spencer, director of photography many shows, especially for QM (12 O’Clock High, The FBI).
May 21: Bud Molin, film editor (I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy).
May 25: Benjamin J. Kasazkow, art director on The Defenders, Hawk, and NYPD.
May 26: George Greeley, composer (My Living Doll, the My Favorite Martian theme).
Jun 2: Leroy Coleman, MGM art director for Mr. Novak, Cain’s Hundred, etc.
Jun 10: Ben Lane, Columbia makeup dept. head overseeing Bewitched, The Monkees, etc.
Jun 17: Ed Friendly, network exec turned producer (Laugh-In, Backstairs at the White House).
Jun 25: Carmen Dirigo, hair stylist for The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction.
Jun 30: Will Schaefer, composer of incidental scores for I Dream of Jeannie and other sitcoms.
Jul 27: William Tuttle, created some famous makeup designs for The Twilight Zone.
Jul 29: Tom Snyder, old-school talk show host.
Aug 12: Merv Griffin, game show pioneer & talk show host.
Sep 8: James McAdams, producer at Universal (The Virginian, Kojak).
Sep 28: Martin Manulis, legendary live TV producer (Playhouse 90).
Oct 23: Robert F. O’Neill, associate producer on Dr. Kildare and Columbo.
Nov 13: Monty Westmore, Ozzie and Harriet makeup man.
Dec 3: Gary Shaffer, casting director for The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and Medical Center.

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2 Responses to “2007 TV Necrology”

  1. JW Says:

    Now, this of course begs the question: how many of these folks did you manage to interview before they passed away? Actually no, don’t reveal your cards…

  2. Stephen Bowie Says:

    Not nearly enough! Actually I had some contact with nine, I think. One of them bought me lunch at Musso & Frank’s, the first time I was ever in there….


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