You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Robert Van Scoyk

Writer, producer

Robert Van Scoyk, who spent 12 years writing and producing TV’s “Murder, She Wrote, died Aug. 26 of complications from diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 74.

Prolific writer penned dozens of episodes for a number of crime, mystery and detective shows including “Banacek,” “Baretta,” “Ellery Queen,” “Magnum P.I.” and “Columbo.”

Native of Dayton, Ohio, left home to join the Army Air Force during the last months of World War II. After the war, he got a job as a pageboy at NBC in New York City. Simultaneously he was writing a column for the Dayton Daily News about life as a struggling radio and TV writer in Manhattan. A break came in the guise of New York Post gossip columnist Earl Wilson who championed Van Scoyk early in his career by making his exploits a recurring theme in his column.

Van Scoyk’s first TV scripting break came when he was hired by NBC to write for “The New Faces,” a revue show produced by the NBC pages in the late 1940s. He later wrote episodes for “The Ann Sothern Show,” “The Imogene Coca Show,” “U.S. Steel Hour,” “Philco Theatre” and “Kraft Theatre.”

During the 1960s he relocated to Los Angeles where he worked as a scribe on “The Virginian” and served as an associate producer on the show during the 1969-70 season.

Versatile writer moved among genres from musicals (he adapted “Kiss Me, Kate” starring Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence for ABC in 1968) to medical melodramas (“The Nurses,” “Rafferty,” “Trauma Center”) to comedy (“The Cosby Show,” “Love, Sydney” starring Tony Randall, “All’s Fair” starring Richard Crenna and Bernadette Peters).

Additional credits include “The Cosby Mysteries,” “Flying High” and “Wonder Woman.”

He is survived by wife Leona, three sons, his father and a sister.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

More Scene

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

  • KiKi Layne and Stephan James'If Beale

    Regina King Praised by 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Co-Stars for New 50/50 Initiative

    Two days had passed since Kiki Layne and Stephan James had attended their first Golden Globes and the “If Beale Street Could Talk” co-stars were still trying to wrap their heads around having been there. “It was such a special night — and pretty unreal,” says James, who was also nominated for his work opposite Julia Roberts [...]

  • Steven Van Zandt, Edie Falco, Tony

    'The Sopranos' 20th Anniversary Reunion: Cast, Producers Remember James Gandolfini

    Jan. 9’s 20th anniversary reunion of the cast and producers of HBO’s “The Sopranos” was a raucous family gathering from its first moments. “I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper,” series creator David Chase said at the start of the event. “And I thought, 20 years. Jesus Christ.” “People come up to me,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content