WGA activist David P. Harmon, known for his work in radio, golden age TV and later shows such as “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island,” died Aug. 28 of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 82.
With 148 credits to his name from 1955 to 1984, Harmon paired a prolific writing career with that of active service in the WGA, serving on 30 committees from 1960 to 1986. He was honored with the guild’s Morgan Cox Award for service in 1973 and the Hal Finberg Award in 1985.
A longtime WGA board member, he was a significant figure in the development of the present WGA, most notably as co-chair, with Nate Monaster, of the TV negotiating committee during the 1960 strikes, which lasted five months, and helping establish the WGA as a bona fide force at the negotiating table.
As a writer, the New York native began his career in radio after graduating from Ohio State U. in 1939, writing for such shows as “Armstrong Radio Theater” and “Superman” and such World War II military propaganda shows “Cavalcade of America,” “Now Hear This” and “America in the Air.”
At the advent of television, he switched to live programs, including “Studio One,” “Jane Wyman Fireside Theater,” Dick Powell shows, and “For Women Only,” the first show geared towards women on TV.
Writer for Frank Sinatra’s first radio show, “Reflections,” Harmon also scripted “Johnny Concho,” Sinatra’s first foray into producing. His other film credits include “Reprisal,” “The Last of the Fast Guns,” “Shadow on the Window,” and “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.”
His TV credits are extensive, ranging from the early Disney serial “Texas John Slaughter” to Aaron Spelling’s “Hotel.” Story editor for “Gilligan’s Island,” he wrote episodes for numerous other TV series as well, including “The Untouchables” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Mod Squad,” and “All in the Family.”
Preceded in death by Ruth, his wife of 45 years, Harmon is survived by his three children: Ross Harmon, an ABC cameraman/video controller; Randi Mespelli, a Planet Hollywood manager; and Nikki Harmon, a playwright.