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updated: 7/13/2011 8:22 AM

Creator of 'Brady Bunch,' 'Gilligan's Island' dies

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  • Writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz received a kiss from actresses Florence Henderson, left, and Dawn Wells during a ceremony where Schwartz was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. Schwartz died Tuesday at the age of 94.

      Writer/producer Sherwood Schwartz received a kiss from actresses Florence Henderson, left, and Dawn Wells during a ceremony where Schwartz was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. Schwartz died Tuesday at the age of 94.
    Associated Press File Photo

 
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Sherwood Schwartz, writer-creator of two of the best-remembered TV series of the 1960s and 1970s, "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch," has died at age 94.

Great niece Robin Randall said Schwartz died at 4 a.m. Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was being treated for an intestinal infection and underwent several surgeries. His wife, Mildred, and children had been at his side.

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Sherwood Schwartz and his brother, Al, started as a writing team in TV's famed 1950s "golden age," said Douglas Schwartz, the late Al Schwartz's son.

"They helped shape television in its early days," Douglas Schwartz said. "Sherwood is an American classic, creating 'Brady Bunch' and 'Gilligan's Island,' iconic shows that are still popular today. He continued to produce all the way up into his 90s."

Sherwood Schwartz was working on a big-screen version of "Gilligan's Island," his nephew said. Douglas Schwartz, who created the hit series "Baywatch," called his uncle a longtime mentor and caring "second father" who helped guide him successfully through show business.

Success was the hallmark of Sherwood Schwartz's own career. Neither "Gilligan" nor "Brady" pleased the critics, but both managed to reverberate in viewers' heads through the years as few such series did, lingering in the language and inspiring parodies, spinoffs and countless standup comedy jokes.

Schwartz had given up a career in medical science to write jokes for Bob Hope's radio show.

He dreamed up "Gilligan's Island" in 1964. It was a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat wrecks in a storm. The cast: Alan Hale Jr., as Skipper Jonas Grumby; Bob Denver, as his klutzy assistant Gilligan; Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer, the rich snobs Thurston and Lovey Howell; Tina Louise, the bosomy movie star Ginger Grant; Russell Johnson, egghead science professor Roy Hinkley Jr.; and Dawn Wells, sweet-natured farm girl Mary Ann Summers.

Calling "Gilligan's Island" a "family," Tina Louise tweeted that "Sherwood Schwartz brought laughter and comfort to millions of people." In her Twitter post she added, "He will be in our hearts forever."

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