Veteran TV writer and former Writers Guild of America West president Del Reisman died Saturday in Toluca Lake of cardiac arrest after a brief illness. He was 86.
Reisman served as president from 1991-93 and was VP from 1987-91 and a member of the board of directors from 1979-87. He also chaired three negotiating committees, was a chairman or member of more than 20 other guild committees and was also a longtime member of the board of trustees of the Writers Guild Foundation.
Reisman was awarded the WGA West’s Morgan Cox Award in 1999 for his service to the guild.
“Del was a wonderful man, a staunch defender of writers, and a tremendous friend whose many years of selfless service to the Guild have improved working lives for thousands of writers and their families. He will be missed,” said WGA West President John Wells.
Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, said, “Del was a wonderful man – very warm and personable and a delight to be around because he was interested in everything and everyone. Besides that, he was a talented writer and a strong advocate for his fellow writers. Del is someone we will all miss.”
American Film Institute Dean Robert Mandel said, “Over the past ten years, our Fellows have benefitted from Del’s exceptional teaching, support, and compassion as they prepare to dive into the scary Hollywood waters. Del was much beloved and he will be dearly missed.”
During World War II, Reisman served with the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1942-45 and was trained as a bombardier on the B-17 Flying Fortress. He flew 35 combat missions, mostly over Northern Europe, and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant.
Reisman launched his writing career during the 1950s on such shows as “NBC Matinee Theater” and served as story editor for “Playhouse 90” and “Twilight Zone.” Writing and co-writing credits include “Peyton Place,” “Cagney & Lacey,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Scarecrow & Mrs. King,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “Cannon,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Lou Grant,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Flamingo Road,” “The Blue Knight,” “Banacek,” “Harry O,” “Kung Fu,” “Ghost Story,” “Airwolf” and “The Yellow Rose.”
His screen credits include 1973’s “The Take” (co-written with Franklin Coen, based on a novel by G.F. Newman).
He was a faculty member at the American Film Institute and a longtime member of the Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board. Last May, Reisman volunteered to participate in the Writers Guild Foundation’s inaugural Veteran Writers Workshop.
Reisman is survived by his niece, Karen Schneider, who resides in Washington D.C., and half-sister Penny Chidgey, who resides in Australia.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Reisman’s name to the Writers Guild Foundation. Memorial services are pending.