James Henerson, Writer on 'I Dream of Jeannie' and 'Bewitched,' Dies at 84

Courtesy Matthew Henerson
James Henerson

He received an Emmy nomination for his work on a telefilm about the 1971 Attica prison uprising.

James Henerson, an Emmy-nominated writer and producer who worked on such shows as I Dream of JeannieBewitched and The Flying Nun, has died. He was 84.

Henerson died Thursday in his sleep at his home in Sherman Oaks, his sons, Matthew and Evan, announced.

A staff writer for the famed TV studio Screen Gems, Henerson also wrote episodes of The Partridge Family, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew MysteriesCombat!National VelvetLove on a RooftopBob & Carol & Ted & Alice and The Second Hundred Years.

With partners Jim Hirsch and Michael Douglas, he produced the 1986-87 ABC series Starman, which starred Robert Hays and was based on the John Carpenter-directed film.

He was nominated for an Emmy for writing the 1980 ABC telefilm Attica, based on Tom Wicker's memoir about his experience as a negotiator during the infamous 1971 prison uprising in upstate New York.

And Henerson won a WGA award in 1999 for the CBS telefilm The Love Letter, a time-travel love story starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh.  

Born in Brooklyn on Feb. 16, 1936, Henerson grew up in Oakland, California. He earned a bachelor's degree in history at UC Berkeley, where he roomed and did plays with future Incredible Hulk star Bill Bixby.

While attending UCLA to earn his master's and gathering material for Broadway musicals, he took a job as a story editor on the CBS series Lassie in 1958. He went on to pen 36 episodes of NBC's I Dream of Jeannie from 1967-70 and 12 installments of ABC's Bewitched from 1966-69.

He wrote and/or produced several telefilms, including 1985's The Rape of Richard Beck, starring Richard Crenna; 1986's Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI, starring Howard E. Rollins Jr.; 1991's And the Sea Will Tell …, starring Rachel Ward; 1994's Getting Gotti, starring Lorraine Bracco; and 1999's Mutiny, starring Michael Jai White.

He also scripted and exec produced a 1993 miniseries, The Fire Next Time, about the cataclysmic results of climate change.

In addition to his sons, survivors include his wife of more than 60 years, Marlene, and three grandchildren.