February 5, 2008
Television writer Robert Guy Barrows died on January 31. Barrows penned scripts for some of the top dramas, action shows, and westerns of the mid-sixties and early seventies: Ben Casey, Big Valley, Daniel Boone, Mission: Impossible, The Virginian, Run For Your Life, four for The Man Who Never Was. He wrote the Fugitive episode wherein Kimble hides out in a home for the sightless and solves the problems of several embittered blind people, and three Kraft Suspense Theatres including “The Gun,” a strident gun control piece starring Eddie Albert. My favorite Barrows script was his first Kraft, “The Machine That Played God,” with Anne Francis as a woman who kills her abusive husband in self-defense, but starts to lose confidence in her version of events after she flunks a lie detector test.
Barrows wrote most (but not all) of those scripts with his second wife, Judith, who was nine years his junior. Shortly after Judith died from an overdose of pills in 1970, Barrows’ productivity as a TV writer largely ceased.
In his later years Barrows returned to his home state of Colorado, and recently resurfaced on the web.
Correction, 11/16/11: The original version of this piece misstated the cause of Judith Barrows’s death. Thanks to Jane Klain for some fast research assistance.