You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Louis ‘Deke’ Heyward


This article was corrected on Aug. 6, 2002.

Louis “Deke” Heyward, prolific writer and producer in radio and early television who later was the first writer for “Winky Dink,” the first interactive TV show, died Wednesday April 3 of complications from pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. He was 81.

Native New Yorker began writing while editing various student publications at NYU. In March 1941, he interrupted his studies at Brooklyn Law School to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Heyward went on to pilot numerous bombing missions in North Africa and Europe, and received two Presidential Unit Citations and a Purple Heart.

In 1947, he worked as a senior editor for the Associated Press’ radio transcription division. Heyward’s radio scripts for various shows eventually caught the attention of comedian Gary Moore, radio personality who was launching his first television show.

Heyward forayed into TV as a staff writer for Moore’s burgeoning program. He later wrote for the “Ernie Kovacs Show,” won the coveted Sylvania Award in 1956 for television comedy writing and was the first writer for Harry W. Prichett and Edwin Wyckoff’s “Winky Dink,” during which millions of baby boomers tuned in and drew on their “magic screens” that covered the TV screen.

Following a brief stint with Dick Clark Prods., where he helped develop “The Dick Clark Show,” Heyward was tapped as director of development for 20th Century Fox in 1961. Two years later he became VP of production for American Intl. Pictures. During his 10-year tenure at AIP he produced 25 movies including “Wuthering Heights” and “Murder in the Rue Morgue.” Heyward also wrote “Pajama Party” and “Spy in Your Eye” plus others.

His career also included stints at Four Star Films as development VP; Hanna-Barbera as senior VP; and DIC Entertainment.

In all, Heyward produced and wrote 50 films, 3,000 radio shows, a multitude of TV programs and several novels. He earned an Emmy for “The Gathering” and launched gamers “Twenty-One” and :Tic Tac Dough.”

He spent his later years teaching writing and working with underprivileged children at Camp Kilpatrick.

He is survived by wife Sandra; a son, Andrew, who now heads DIC Entertainment; a daughter; and five grandchildren.

More Scene

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 16

    San Francisco Symphony Ushers in Chinese New Year With Glitzy Gala

    As legend has it: among the Chinese Zodiac’s 12 animals, the pig comes last because it was the final one to arrive to a party thrown by the Jade Emperor — lazy sauntering being a characteristic trait of the animal. The folktale was perhaps less fitting this past Saturday evening, as the San Francisco Symphony [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content