Wilton Schiller, a writer and producer with a 50-year career that took him from the Golden Age of television to series such as “Lassie,” “Dragnet” and “The Fugitive” to “The Six Million Dollar Man,” died July 27 at home in Studio City, Calif. He was 95.
Schiller wrote hundreds of episodes of series such as the original “Superman” series, as well as “The Adventures of Superman,” “Leave It to Beaver,” “Dragnet,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Broken Arrow,” “Rawhide,” “Adam 12” and “M Squad.”
He wrote for “The Fugitive” and produced the last year of the series, with the final episode breaking all U.S. records for viewership. Recently the series was included in the top 101 television series of the last six decades by the Writers Guild of America.
Schiller also produced the series “Ben Casey” and “Mannix,” served as executive story consultant for “Six Million Dollar Man,” and co-wrote the two-part telepic “Captain America” with his wife, Patricia Payne. Schiller and Payne co-wrote and produced the record-breaking six-hour Australian historical miniseries “For The Term of His Natural Life.”
Schiller pioneered co-productions between the U.S. and Canada in the early 1970s with television series “Simon Locke,” starring Jack Albertson; “Police Surgeon,” which featured names such as Martin Sheen, John Candy, William Shatner and Leslie Nielson; and a TV movie, “The Man Inside,” starring James Franciscus and Stefanie Powers.
He wrote the screenplay for the 1964 feature “The New Interns,” starring George Segal, and was executive producer of the Payne-produced movie “California Dreaming,” starring Lea Thompson.
Schiller also taught screenwriting at UCLA in the 1960s.
A native of Chicago, Schiller graduated from the University of Chicago and began his career in his hometown, working as a writer in radio and performing standup comedy. During WWII, Schiller served in the Army as a psychiatric assistant.
After the war’s end, Schiller went to Hollywood, beginning as a literary agent at MCA, where he worked with several major celebrities.
Survivors include Schiller’s wife of 39 years, Patricia Payne Schiller; nephew Roger Reinhart; a grandson and a great-granddaughter.
Donations may be sent to Doctors Without Borders.