Sean David Gerard Whitesell, a writer and producer for television shows including HBO’s “Oz,” CBS’ “Cold Case,” Fox’s “House,” TNT’s “Perception” and AMC’s “The Killing,” died on December 28 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 52. He was the brother of WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell.
For “The Killing” he was nominated for an Edgar Award earlier this year. In addition, he wrote and directed a number of short films, the latest of which was “Eddie and the Aviator” (2015).
Before beginning his writing career, Whitesell was an actor. He appeared as a recurring character, Donald Groves, on “Oz” and as Dr. Eli Devilbiss on “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He guested on a number of other television shows and appeared in the 1993 HBO movie “And the Band Played On.”
Whitesell was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and went on to get his MFA from UC San Diego.
Whitesell was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme in June 2014. He began “Eddie and the Aviator” after he was diagnosed and completed the film this past summer despite difficulties caused by his illness.
Survivors include his wife, Maria Quiban Whitesell, the KTTV weather anchor and their son, Gus, as well as his parents and five brothers.
A funeral mass celebrating Whitesell’s life will be held at Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church at 10750 Ohio Street, Los Angeles, at 10:15 a.m. on January 2.
Donations may be sent to the UCLA Brain Cancer Research Fund.