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Suzanne Clauser, ‘Bonanza’ Writer, Dies at 86

Suzanne Clauser, a TV writer best known for Western TV movies and penning episodes of the hit series “Bonanza,” died Monday in her Yellow Springs, Ohio, home.  She was 86.

She sustained a three-decade career in the industry, writing and developing pilots, multiple TV movies and a TV miniseries for major networks.  Most notably, she served as a regular writer on the long-running series “Bonanza” and was the only female who regularly wrote for the show.  Known for her expertise in Western history, Clauser wrote the screenplays for two Western TV movies: “Pioneer Woman” (1973) and “Calamity Jane” (1984).

Her other TV movie credits include 1975’s “A Girl Named Sooner,” which was based on her 1972 novel of the same name; “Home to Stay” (1978); “The Pride of Jesse Hallam” (1981); and “Message From Nam” (1993).

Clauser’s scripts starred actors such as Johnny Cash, William Shatner, Richard Crenna, Lee Remick, Cloris Leachman, Peter O’Toole, Robert Wagner, Robert Young, David Janssen, Dorothy Malone, Eli Wallach, Jane Alexander, Billy Dee Williams, and Kyle Chandler.

Clauser began her career as a TV writer upon relocating from Indiana to Ohio with her husband.

(Scene from NBC series “Bonanza,” for which Suzanne Clauser wrote from 1965-72.)

 

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