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Henry Colman, 'Love Boat' Writer-Producer and TV Executive, Dies at 89

Henry Colman Headshot - P 2012
Henry Colman

After starting his career in live television in New York, he moved to Los Angeles and worked on or supervised such iconic series as "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Hawaii Five-O," "The Odd Couple," "Green Acres" and "Lucy."

Henry Colman, a veteran TV producer, writer and executive best known for his work on The Love Boat and Hotel, died Nov. 7. He was 89.

Colman began his career in live television in New York, working on such network programs as Kraft Television Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Colgate Comedy Hour and the military anthology series Navy Log. He followed the industry to Los Angeles in 1961 and served as associate producer on the popular dramas Dr. Kildare and Peyton Place.

During the ’60s, he became an executive producer with CBS Television, supervising such shows as the classic comedies Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies and Lucy and the iconic cop drama Hawaii Five-O.  In 1970, Colman became vp television programs at Paramount Studios, overseeing such shows as The Odd Couple, Mannix and Love, American Style. Two years later, he took a similar position at Screen Gems.

From the ’70s to the  ’90s, he produced several television movies including The Dead Don't Die, The Rape of Doctor Willis, Parent Trap III, Body of Evidence and two Love Boat telefilms that aired before the series launched in 1977. He was a producer on Love Boat for its first seven seasons, moving to the ABC drama Hotel from 1984-87. A longtime member of the WGA, he also wrote all or part of about a dozen Love Boat episodes, one for Hotel and one for the mid-’70s family adventure series Isis.

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Toward the end of his career, Colman interviewed many actors, producers and directors including Aaron Spelling, Ernest Borgnine and George Carlin for the Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television.

Colman was born Sept. 15, 1923, in Altoona, Penn. After completing two years at the University of Michigan, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps and served two years in World War II as a B-29 navigator stationed on Saipan. He later earned a bachelor’s in theater arts from Columbia University in New York and spent summers as an actor with the Virginia Barter Theater Company.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Brainard; his children, Cathy and Richard; and his sister, Hedy Roche.

The Television Academy Foundation has established a memorial fund in Colman’s memory. Donations can be sent to The Archive of American Television, 5220 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA 91601

Watch Colman’s 2001 interview with the Archive of American Television below. He discusses the development and casting of The Love Boat starting at the 20:26 mark.