TV vet created 'Trapper John, M.D.'

Don Brinkley, a writer and producer for television who created the CBS series ”Trapper John, M.D.,” died Saturday in Sag Harbor, N.Y. He was 91.

Brinkley was the adopted father of supermodel and occasional actress Christie Brinkley.

”Trapper John, M.D.” ran for seven seasons on CBS from 1979-86. Pernell Roberts portrayed the title character 25 years after his experience as a surgeon in the Korean War. (The character was created by Richard Hooker in his novel ”MASH” and played by Elliott Gould and Wayne Rogers, respectively, in the film and TV series versions of ”MASH.”)

Brinkley was also a significant contributor to another doctor-centered show of the 1970s, ”Medical Center,” starring Chad Everett, for which he penned 27 episodes, produced several and served as a story consultant.

Born in the Bronx, Donald Alan Brinkley was a journalist for CBS Radio News and worked in television since the early days of the medium, penning episodes of ”Dick Tracy” and ”The Cisco,” among other shows, in the early 1950s. He was a writer and director for the crime drama ”Highway Patrol,” starring Broderick Crawford, and penned multiple episodes of series including ”Have Gun – Will Travel,” ”Wanted: Dead or Alive,” ”Bat Masterson” and ”The Fugitive.”

He was also the producer of CBS’ brief 1976 series ”Executive Suite.”

The Museum of Broadcasting in New York honored Brinkley with a career retrospective in 1988.

In addition to daughter Christie, Brinkley is survived by his second wife, Marge; a son, Greg; children Jeff and Kim from his first marriage; and several grandchildren, including musician Alexa Ray Joel.

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