Don Mankiewicz, Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter for 'I Want to Live!,' Dies at 93

He also wrote the the pilot episodes of the TV classics 'Marcus Welby, M.D.' and 'Ironside.' His son is 'House of Cards' exec producer John Mankiewicz.

Don Mankiewicz, a member of a luminous Hollywood family who earned an Oscar nomination for I Want to Live! and penned the pilot episodes for two classic TV shows, has died. He was 93.

Mankiewicz died Saturday of congestive heart failure at his home in Monrovia, Calif., his son, House of Cards screenwriter and executive producer John Mankiewicz, told the Los Angeles Times.

Mankiewicz wrote the first episodes of Marcus Welby, M.D., the 1969-76 ABC medical drama that starred Robert Young and James Brolin, and Ironside, the 1967-75 NBC cop drama with Raymond Burr as a wheelchair-bound chief of detectives.

The Beverly Hills native was a son of Herman J. Mankiewicz, who with Orson Welles won the screenplay Oscar for 1941’s Citizen Kane, and a nephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who won Oscars for writing and directing the 1950 best picture winner All About Eve.

His brother, Frank Mankiewicz, who served as as a top aide to presidential candidates Robert Kennedy and George McGovern, died in October. Frank’s son is Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.

 

Don Mankiewicz co-wrote the fact-based I Want to Live! (1958), directed by Robert Wise, about a prostitute (played by best actress Oscar winner Susan Hayward) who was convicted of murder and put to death in the gas chamber.

He also wrote the original first-season Star Trek episode "Court Martial"; the 1964-65 NBC miniseries Profiles in Courage, an adaptation of President John F. Kennedy’s book; and installments of Playhouse 90, Mannix, McMillan & Wife, Simon & Simon and MacGyver.

Mankiewicz graduated from Columbia University, served in the U.S. Army and worked as a staff writer for the New Yorker. His novel, Trial, was made into a 1955 film of the same name that starred Glenn Ford

The WGA West honored the writer in 2008 with its 2008 Morgan Cox Award for his exemplary service to the guild and his help in empowering fellow scribes.

In addition to his son, survivors also include his wife of more than 40 years, Carol, and his other children, Jan, Sandy and Jane.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

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