Alvin Sapinsley, a longtime TV scribe whose career began in the early days of live television, died July 13 of pneumonia at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 80.
Sapinsley began his career as a television scriptwriter in Manhattan during the early 1950s and relocated to Los Angeles where he penned the Boris Karloff-starring teleplay “Even the Weariest River” in 1956, which received critical praise.
He wrote for such television shows as “The Alcoa Hour,” “Studio One,” “The Untouchables,” The Man From U.N.C.L.E,” “Kojak,” “Hawaii Five-O” and went on to create “Front Page.”
Sapinsley also was active in issues affecting the Writers Guild of America, of which he was a longtime member. He sat on numerous committees including the Freedom of Expression one. He also was a part of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Dramatists Guild and Phi Beta Kappa.
Sapinsley was a recipient of numerous kudos including the Mystery Writers of America Award in 1955 for “Sting of Death” and the TV Writers Award in 1966-67 for “Code of Heraclitus.”
He is survived by his sister.
A memorial service will be held at the WGA in L.A. on Sunday Aug. 4 at 1 p.m.