Robert Van Scoyk, who spent 12 years writing and producing TV’s “Murder, She Wrote, died Aug. 26 of complications from diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 74.
Prolific writer penned dozens of episodes for a number of crime, mystery and detective shows including “Banacek,” “Baretta,” “Ellery Queen,” “Magnum P.I.” and “Columbo.”
Native of Dayton, Ohio, left home to join the Army Air Force during the last months of World War II. After the war, he got a job as a pageboy at NBC in New York City. Simultaneously he was writing a column for the Dayton Daily News about life as a struggling radio and TV writer in Manhattan. A break came in the guise of New York Post gossip columnist Earl Wilson who championed Van Scoyk early in his career by making his exploits a recurring theme in his column.
Van Scoyk’s first TV scripting break came when he was hired by NBC to write for “The New Faces,” a revue show produced by the NBC pages in the late 1940s. He later wrote episodes for “The Ann Sothern Show,” “The Imogene Coca Show,” “U.S. Steel Hour,” “Philco Theatre” and “Kraft Theatre.”
During the 1960s he relocated to Los Angeles where he worked as a scribe on “The Virginian” and served as an associate producer on the show during the 1969-70 season.
Versatile writer moved among genres from musicals (he adapted “Kiss Me, Kate” starring Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence for ABC in 1968) to medical melodramas (“The Nurses,” “Rafferty,” “Trauma Center”) to comedy (“The Cosby Show,” “Love, Sydney” starring Tony Randall, “All’s Fair” starring Richard Crenna and Bernadette Peters).
Additional credits include “The Cosby Mysteries,” “Flying High” and “Wonder Woman.”
He is survived by wife Leona, three sons, his father and a sister.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.