Producer, writer, director

TV producer, writer and director Craig B. Fisher died Sept. 18 in White Plains, N.Y., from complications of a heart condition. He was 74.

Fisher spent more than 25 years with ABC, CBS and the NBC news division in New York and Washington, D.C. and more than two decades as a freelance writer-producer.

Born in the Philippines while his father was serving there, he graduated from the U. of Maryland. During the 1950s, he served in the Air Force as a public relations and motion picture officer with the rank of captain.

He was hired by NBC as associate producer of “Today” under Dave Garroway, where he hired Barbara Walters for her first job in TV as a writer for Hugh Downs. Later, Fisher promoted Walters to be the on-air “Today girl.”

Among his award-winning programs were the NBC series “Sunday,” a weekly magazine show; miniseries “Testing”; and “Exploring,” a weekly children’s series.

He produced and wrote shows including “The Smithsonian,” “Louis Rukeyser’s Business Journal” and “Views of a Vanishing Frontier,” as well as segments for “20/20.”

As director of the NBC Science Unit, he won an Emmy for “The Everglades” and was Emmy-nommed for “The Ice People,” “The Prairie,” “The Great Barrier Reef,” “Man, Beast and The Land” and “The First Americans.”

For PBS Fisher created, co-wrote and produced “Outerscope,” a children’s dramatic series to help overcome the effects of prejudice and produced and directed children’s series “Alphabet Soup.”

As a freelance writer-producer, he created program segments for “Walter Cronkite’s Universe,” wrote an Imax script for the National Air and Space Museum and was media consultant to the commission under chairman John D. Rockefeller III.

He served as president and exec director of the Writers Guild of America East and incorporated the WGAE Foundation, as well as serving as a judge for the Intl. Emmys.

Fisher taught film and writing at St. John’s U., NYU Film School, the Maine Film and Television Workshops, Rockport College and the Boston Film & Video Foundation.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Ashton; four children; a brother; and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Writers Guild of America East Foundation, 555 W. 57th St., Suite 1230, New York, NY 10019, or the Cardiovascular Research Fund, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, 735 Cambridge St., Boston, MA 02135.

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