Andrew J. Fenady, 'Branded' Producer and 'Terror in the Wax Museum' Writer, Dies at 91

Courtesy Duke Fenady
Andrew J. Fenady

In the 1950s, he partnered with future 'Empire Strikes Back' director Irvin Kershner on 'The Rebel' and 'Stakeout on Dope Street.'

Andrew J. Fenady, the writer, producer and novelist who worked on such TV shows as Branded and The Rebel and films including Terror in the Wax Museum and The Man With Bogart's Face, has died. He was 91.

Fenady died Thursday of natural causes at the home in Los Angeles that he owned for 60 years, his son Duke Fenady, a producer and writer, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Fenady and Nick Adams created ABC's The Rebel, which ran for two seasons (1959-61) and starred Adams as Johnny Yuma, an aspiring writer and former Confederate soldier who wanders through the American frontier in the wake of the Civil War. 

"My conception of The Rebel was Jack London in the West," Fenady said in 1992. Yuma "was adventurous, he wanted to be a writer, and he couldn't write unless he lived it. That's what set him apart from all the other [television] pistoleros. He went to war, learned the value of life and learned what it was like to be licked. A lot of his identity was due to that [Rebel] cap he was wearing."

The show was produced by Fen-Ker-Ada, a company formed by Adams, Fenady and Irvin Kershner, future director of films including Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Fenady also wrote the lyrics for The Rebel's theme song, "Johnny Yuma," which was recorded by Johnny Cash.

Fenady also produced the Larry Cohen-created NBC series Branded, which aired for two seasons (1965-66) on NBC, with Chuck Connors portraying a disgraced officer unjustly drummed out of the cavalry for cowardice.

He also wrote the features Broken Sabre (1965) and Ride Beyond Vengeance (1966), both starring Connors; developed the 1967 ABC series Hondo, starring Ralph Taeger in an adaptation of the 1953 John Wayne movie; and wrote and produced the Wayne-starring Chisum (1970) and Terror in the Wax Museum (1973), starring Ray Milland.

Fenady wrote several plays and 20 novels, including The Man With Bogart's Face, published in 1977 and the recipient of an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He also penned the screenplay for the 1980 film adaptation that starred Robert Sacchi as a private eye who undergoes plastic surgery to look like the star of The Maltese Falcon.

Born on Oct. 4, 1928, Fenady graduated from the University of Toledo in his hometown, then worked as an actor with the Priscilla Beach Theatre in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and with Clare Tree Major's National Classic Theatre in Pleasantville, New York, followed by a cross-country tour.

He came to Los Angeles in 1953 and wrote and produced for the syndicated 1950s TV series Confidential File, which investigated hot-button issues as a kind of forerunner to 60 Minutes.

Kershner was a director on that program, and the two borrowed $21,000 to make Stakeout on Dope Street (1958), a story about three teenagers who stumble on a stash of heroin worth a quarter-million dollars. Co-written by Fenady, it became a hit for Warner Bros. 

Fenady also wrote and/or produced such telefilms as 1971's Black Noon, starring Roy Thinnes; 1974's The Hanged Man, toplined by Steve Forrest; and 1991's Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, starring Richard Thomas and Charles Bronson.

His brother, the late Georg Fenady, directed Terror in the Wax Museum as well as episodes of such shows as Combat!Quincy M.E. and Baywatch. His wife, Mary Frances, his college sweetheart whom he married in June 1956, died of cancer in May.

Survivors include his children, Gena, Duke, Sean, Andrew and Thomas; grandchildren Jonathon, James, Megan, Jack, Griffin and Parker; and a great-grandson, Nicholas.