Wrote for 'Star Trek,' 'Rawhide,' 'Kojak'
TV and film writer Oliver Crawford, who went on to write for series including “Star Trek” after being blacklisted in the 1950s, died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles. He was 91.
Crawford was Emmy nommed for shows including “Climax!” and “Lineup” and received a Writers Guild nomination for “Outer Limits.”
He wrote for early TV shows such as “Rawhide,” “The Rifleman” and Perry Mason” and later for “Quincy” “Kojak” and “Gilligan’s Island.”
Born in Chicago, he attended the Chicago Art Institute and the Goodman Theater, where he studied and formed lifelong friendships with classmates Karl Malden and Sam Wanamaker.
In 1953, Crawford was contracted to work for Burt Lancaster and Harold Heck. Shortly thereafter, he was called before the sub-committee of the House Un-Americans Committee and refused to cooperate by naming anyone. His refusal to implicate anyone led to being blacklisted and fired from his contract.
He left Hollywood with his family and went to New York and scraped together whatever work he could find, eventually finding work on “Playhouse 90.”
After his career rebounded, he served on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America for 26 years. He worked with the Writers Guild to provide financial restitution to victims of the blacklist and also led the cause to remove the anti-Communist loyalty oath from the Guild’s membership application.
His novel, “The Execution,” in 1985 made into a TV movie of the week starring Loretta Swit, Valerie Harper, Rip Torn, Sandy Dennis, Jessica Walter and Barbara Barrie. He also served as associate professor of filmmaking at Loyola Marymount University.
He is survived by two daughters; a son; a sister and a brother.