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Television producer Sherwood Schwartz died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 94 and best known for creating Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch.
He began his career as a radio writer for Bob Hope and transitioned to television on I Married Joan in 1953 and The Red Skelton Hour from 1954 through 1962. He also worked as a script supervisor on My Favorite Martian. Other credits among the more than 700 shows he wrote or produced include It’s About Time, Dusty’s Trail and Harper Valley.
Gillian’s Island, about a disparate group of passengers stranded on an island after a storm, launched on CBS in 1964 and ran for three seasons. Schwartz wrote the memorable theme song for the program, which starred Bob Denver as the hapless first mate and lived on for decades in syndication.
Similarly, Schwarz wrote The Brady Bunch theme song — “Here’s a story of a man named Brady” — and the show went through through numerous syndication cycles. The ABC comedy starred Florence Henderson and Robert Reed as the parents of a blended family of three boys and three girls. The program launched a number of spinoffs including The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas and The Bradys.
Schwartz was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2008.
Schwartz told the Archive of American Television in 1997 that he’d like to be remembered “as a man who tried to explain in his own way that people have to learn to get along with each other. I did it with comedy because that’s what I’m familiar with, and I think it’s more acceptable to tell it in comedy form.”
Schwartz is survived by his wife Mildred; children Donald, Lloyd, Ross and Hope; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will take place at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles, with details to be announced. The family asks that donations be made to Children’s Hospital.
In the interview below from the TV Academy’s “Emmy TV Legends” blog, Schwarz explained that it took a long time for Gilligan’s Island bombshell Tina Louise to understand the impact of the show:
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