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Bruce Lansbury, the veteran TV producer and writer known for his work on The Wild Wild West, Wonder Woman and Murder, She Wrote, which starred his older sister, Angela Lansbury, has died. He was 87.
The London-born Lansbury died Monday in La Quinta, Calif., after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter, Felicia Lansbury Meyer, told The Hollywood Reporter.
His survivors also include his twin brother, Edgar Lansbury; he produced the popular 1970s Broadway revival of Gypsy that starred their sister and worked on films including The Wild Party (1975), directed by James Ivory.
Lansbury also served as vp creative affairs for Paramount Television starting in the late 1960s, supervising such series as The Brady Bunch; Happy Days; The Odd Couple; Love, American Style; and Petrocelli.
Lansbury demonstrated a flair for sci-fi and fantasy at points during his career, especially early on.
He joined CBS’ The Wild Wild West before its second season and assumed control of the futuristic Western in the summer of 1966 when the show’s creator, Michael Garrison, died from injuries suffered in a fall in his home. Lansbury went on to produce 69 episodes of Wild Wild West before it was canceled in 1969 amid an outcry over violence on television.
Lansbury then guided 43 installments of CBS’ Mission: Impossible (1969-72), 38 episodes of ABC-CBS’ Wonder Woman (1977-79), 20 of NBC’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-80) and 21 of NBC’s Knight Rider (1985-86).
He also created the short-lived 1973-74 CBS series The Magician, starring Bill Bixby; wrote for NBC’s The Powers of Matthew Star; and produced the 1987 telefilm The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman and episodes of the 1977 NBC drama The Fantastic Journey.
Lansbury joined CBS’ Murder, She Wrote at the start of the series’ ninth season in 1992 and served as supervising producer on 88 episodes over four years, through the show’s conclusion in May 1996. He also wrote 15 episodes.
Lansbury was the son of Irish-born stage actress Moyna Macgill and Edgar Lansbury, a politician and timber merchant. His grandfather was George Lansbury, a former Labor Party leader in England and a member of Parliament.
With the outbreak of World War II, he came to New York with his sister, brother and mother. The family then settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1940s, and he served in the U.S. Army and graduated from UCLA.
Lansbury began his career in the business at WABC-TV in Los Angeles and then worked in program development at CBS in Los Angeles and New York.
He married Mary Hassalevris in 1951 and remained with her until her 1996 death. In 1998, he married Gail England, and she survives him.
His other survivors include his other daughter Christiane; grandchildren Alexandra, Michael, Audrey and William; great-grandsons Theo and Luc; and his wife’s children Danielle and Jordan and her grandsons Robert and Jake.
Still going strong, Angela Lansbury, 91, solved 12 seasons’ worth of crimes as the novelist/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote. She also has won five Tony Awards and was nominated for three Academy Awards during her illustrious career.
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