Walter V. Kempley Jr.

Longtime comedy scribe and producer Walter V. Kempley Jr., who for several years was head writer for “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson and wrote for numerous sitcoms, died of Alzheimer’s disease Saturday in Sarasota, Fla. He was 74.

A writer for “The Jack Paar Show” and “The Jackie Gleason Show” as well, Kempley’s variety show experience helped back Carson from 1967 to 1971.

He also wrote for David Frost as well as for Howard Cosell’s short-lived “Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell,” and produced “The Merv Griffin Show.”

His sitcom writing included “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “McHale’s Navy” and “Happy Days,” where he had a five-year contract with Paramount to co-produce and exec story-edit and develop new series.

When his contract with the net was terminated after the 1982 strikes, Kempley turned to writing overseas as. His first novel, “The Probability Factor,” was turned into the 1976 French film “L’ordinateur des pompes funebres.” Later he wrote for German television and films, which translated his works from English.

He is survived by wife Betty, three daughters, a son and four grandchildren.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading