Writer-Producer William Froug Dies at 91

William Froug Obit

Emmy-winning writer/producer, author and screenwriting professor restructured UCLA’s entire screenwriting program

William Froug, the Emmy-winning writer-producer, author and screenwriting professor who restructured UCLA’s entire screenwriting program, died of natural causes at the Tidwell House Hospice in Sarasota, Florida, on Aug. 25. He was 91.

As a television writer/producer, he was attached to series including “The Twilight Zone,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Playhouse 90” and “Adventures in Paradise.” His involvement in “Bewitched” earned him a shared Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series in 1967.

Before jumping into television, he served as producer-director for “Columbia Workshop,” a dramatic radio series, and was also writer, director and producer of “Brave New World,” another popular radio series.

His career in Hollywood started after a stint in the Navy, where he was a naval officer during WWII and was given command of his own ship in 1945 where, according to his daughter, he honed his writing skills. He sold his first novella to “True Detective Magazine” after an honorable discharge.

In 1958, he won an Emmy for best produced television series for “Eddie,” for which he also received a Producers Guild Award. Among other accolades, he received the Writers Guild of America, West’s Valentine Davies Award for industry/community service in 1987 and was named one of the “Emmy Legends of Television” by the Archive of America Television last year.

While serving as executive in charge of drama at CBS, he pursued teaching and became an adjunct professor at USC’s film school from 1968-1975. Later, he became a tenured professor at UCLA, where he restructured their film department.

Froug wrote several educational best-sellers, including “Screenwriting Tricks of the Trade,” “Zen & the Art of Screenwriting: Insights & Interviews” and “The Screenwriter Looks at the Screenwriter.” He also wrote an autobiography titled “How I Escaped from Gilligan’s Island…And Other Misadventures of a Hollywood Writer-Producer.”

His reputation and work in Hollywood earned praise from late film critic Roger Ebert.

“I know an old writer. His name is William Froug. He lives in Florida, and if you look him up on Amazon, you will see he is still writing brilliant and useful books about screenwriting and teleplays,” Ebert once said.  “He is not merely as sharp as a tack; he is the standard by which they sharpen tacks.”

Froug is survived his four children – Suzy Allegra, Nancy Earth, Lisa Froug-Hirano, and Jonathan Froug – four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. At the time of his death, he was married to Christine Michaels of Sarasota, FL.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 2

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. I treasure my copy of William Froug’s “The Screenwriter Looks At The Screenwriter” that I bought during a visit to Toronto in the 1970s. What a treat to read Froug’s chats with screenwriters such as Nunnally Johnson, Ring Lardner Jr., Fay Kanin, Edward Anhalt and Buck Henry. But my favorites are Froug’s talks with I.A. L. Diamond on working with Billy Wilder and Walter Brown Newman on why his name is missing from the writing credits for “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape.” I never met Froug, but still feel I have lost an old friend.

    • Lisa Froug-Hirano says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words about Dad. He tapped an untapped market with his books and I am so glad you found such reward in reading his earliest. It really was well done. My personal favorite is “Zen and The Art of Screenwriting” :) I know Dad would have enjoyed meeting you and I am so sorry there were few opportunities. He is sorely missed :(

More TV News from Variety

Loading