William S. Roberts

Scriptwriter William S. Roberts died March 5 of respiratory failure following a battle with pneumonia in Los Angeles. He was 83.

Perhaps best known for writing the Western “The Magnificent Seven,” Roberts also created the hit TV series “The Donna Reed Show.”

A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from USC in pre-law. After dropping out of law school, he got his start in show business as a reader for Warner Bros. in 1936.

During World War II, Roberts worked as a writer for the OWI.

In the early 1950s he worked for UPA, where his credits include “The Boing-Boing Show.” He also wrote for such TV programs as “Life With Father.”

Roberts became a founding member of the Screen Readers Guild in spite of the union-unfriendly McCarthyism of the time.

His screenplay credits include “The Private War of Major Benson” (1955), “The Mating Game” (1959), “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” (1962), “The Devil’s Brigade” (1968), “The Bridge at Remagen” (1969), “Posse” (1975), “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” (1981), “10 to Midnight” (1983), and the racing drama “The Last American Hero” (1973), which he also produced.

He is survived by three daughters and four grandsons.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Heart Assn.

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