Keith A. Walker, actor and author who created “Free Willy” and later co-wrote the screenplay for the film version in 1993, died Dec. 30 in Franklin, Tenn., following a short battle with cancer. He was 61.
Walker began his career in San Francisco in the late 1960s producing several radio shows. He then moved down to Los Angeles where he took over radio station KLAC’s all-night talk program.
Walker then hosted his own TV show, “Let Me Talk To…” on KHJ-TV before launching a career as an actor, ap-pearing on numerous TV series including “Mannix,” “The Rookies,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Fantasy Island.”
His career as a writer began in the late 1970s when Walker wrote 26 episodes of Rod Serling’s “Zero Hour” for the Mutual Radio Network. He followed that by writing the pilot and 16 episodes of the Hanna-Barbera series “Mystery Island.”
Primetime TV writing credits included “The Fall Guy,” “Emergency,” “Quincy” and “MASH.”
Walker is survived by his wife, actress-writer Peggy Walton-Walker, a son, two daughters and a grandson.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, (800) 227-2345.