Vale: Sherwood Schwartz

Veteran Writer / Producer Sherwood Schwartz, who created hit shows Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, has died aged 94. Updated: The stars tweet their tributes.

Veteran Writer / Producer Sherwood Schwartz, who created hit shows Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, has died aged 94.

Schwartz, who began his more than six-decade career by writing gags for Bob Hope’s radio show in 1939, died of natural causes in Los Angeles.

Schwartz once said he created Gilligan’s Island, which aired on CBS from 1964 to 1967, as an escape from his seven years on The Red Skelton Show, for which he served as head writer and won an Emmy in 1961.

“It is impossible that a more inept, moronic or humorless show has ever appeared on the home tube,” wrote UPI’s Rick DuBrow.

“It is difficult for me to believe that Gilligan’s Island was written, directed and filmed by adults,” wrote Terrence O’Flaherty of the San Francisco Chronicle.

It is “quite possibly the most preposterous situation comedy of the season,” wrote Jack Gould of the New York Times.

But the show struck a chord with millions of viewers as did his sitcom about a blended family, The Brady Bunch.

The series, starring Robert Reed and Florence Henderson as Mike and Carol Brady, aired on ABC from 1969 to 1974. The Brady kids were played by Maureen McCormick, Barry Williams, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Christopher Knight and Mike Lookinland. Ann B. Davis played Alice, the housekeeper. They have become one of television’s most beloved families of all time, living on in syndication and spin-offs.

Significantly, Schwartz wrote the catchy theme songs to both shows, to ensure their backstory was delivered in the opening credits for every single episode.

He also penned Harper Valley PTA, It’s About Time, Dusty’s Trails, and wrote for I Married Joan.

“I honestly think I could sit down and write a show tonight that the critics would love, and I know it would be canceled within four weeks,” Schwartz said in a 1990 interview with The Times. “I know what the critics love. We write and produce for people, not for critics.”

Schwartz was recently given a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Florence Henderson, who played Carol, has tweeted: “Sherwood had a wonderful family who loved and respected him. I know his BB family felt the same way. He will be greatly missed.”

Gilligan’s Island actress Tina Louise, who played movie star Ginger Grant on the sitcom, reflected on her time working with Schwartz: “Sherwood Schwartz brought laughter and comfort to millions of people. Gilligan’s Island was a family. He will be in our hearts forever.”

Members of the Brady Bunch cast, including Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick, remembered the prolific writer-producer.

“As much as Robert Reid [who played patriarch Mike Brady] was like a dad to me, Sherwood was like a grandpa,” Williams said.

McCormick told The Hollywood Reporter: “My mom, father and I would all go to Sherwood for advice because he always had a great answer. He’d tell you that you’d have the answer within; he’d always tell you how to turn something around to make it a positive.”

Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet wrote, “U gave me my first and most memorable “hey what’s this thing for” thoughts: Marcia, Mary Ann, Sam the Butcher.”

Source: LA Times

11 Responses

  1. Oh and great pic btw,who wouldn’t be as happy as Sherwood is in that photo! And on the subject of Gilligan’s Island,Sherwood made a very obscure series in the 70’s that was like a western version of Gilligan’s Island,character wise,and included Bob Denver in the cast.

  2. A wonderful writer, creator, producer and wunderkind. His son continues his work, and those syndicated deals will keep Gilligan and the Brady’s alive for ever! Gilligan’s Island struck such a chord with me when i was a boy. As silly as the series was, it is still a classic decades later. What a great long life and legacy the man leaves.

  3. What a honest to god legend. Sherwood Schwartz is someone i have admired for years. He was probably the first TV Writer/Showrunner i knew be name and by sight
    The best thing about Sunday’s as a kid was catching a rerun Gilligan’s Island- a show i still look out for in the schedule!

    He created some of the best theme songs in sitcom history, as well of some of the most enduring and beloved shows.

    RIP Sherwood…

  4. Any truth to the story that he died as a direct result of channel 9 using one of his beloved theme tunes to create a disgraceful promo for Jamie Durie’s new show?

    That would kill any man.

  5. Best of luck in your next life sherwood you certainly earned lots of karma in this one by bringing joy to millions with your tv shows. The Brady Bunch & Gilligan’s Island are probably my 2 favourite sitcoms ever.

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