John Bradford, an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer who enjoyed a prolific career as a singer, TV show host and head writer for several popular TV shows, died July 2 in Grass Valley of complications from heart surgery and a subsequent stroke. He was 79.
Bradford shared an Emmy with fellow writers Bob Wells and Cy Coleman during the 1974-75 TV season for “Shirley MacLaine: If They Could See Me Now.”
Born in Longbranch, N.J., on July 2, 1919, Bradford grew up in Los Angeles. Upon graduating from Hollywood High School, he attended USC and the U. of Santa Clara.
Bradford enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II, was stationed in the Aleutians as a combat photographer and later served in the Frank Capra unit as a writer.
Following the war, Bradford landed a stint as a writer at Warner Bros.
While at Warner Bros., he recorded a demo with Ray Heindorf and the Warner Bros. Orchestra, which was sent to RCA Victor Records and resulted in a recording contract for Bradford.
During the late 1940s he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he hosted his own TV show on NBC, “Television Journal.” The show subsequently became President Truman’s favorite and resulted in a command performance at the White House. In 1952 he became a floor manager for NBC in Hollywood and shortly thereafter joined Dinah Shore’s “Chevy Hour” as a writer.
In 1953 he wrote the material for the nightclub act that Ronald Reagan performed in Las Vegas.
Bradford later served as head writer for Frank Sinatra’s Timex Show and for Judy Garland’s CBS show.
Additional TV credits included “The Real McCoys,” “The Addams Family” and “Barney Miller.”
Bradford also received a Peabody Award, two Christopher awards, a Sylvania and the Film Advisory Board’s Award of Excellence. He retired in 1986.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Marge, two daughters, three grandsons and a brother.
The family suggests donations in Bradford’s name be made to Hospice of the Foothill, 12399 Nevada City Highway, Grass Valley, CA 95945.