TV scribe Ernest Ferrin Wallengren, whose credits range from “The Waltons” to “Baywatch,” died May 27 of Lou Gehrig’s disease in Salt Lake City. He was 50.
Native of Heber City, Utah, began his TV writing career with the family drama “The Waltons.” He was also an executive producer and writer for the first season of “Baywatch.” Numerous other writing gigs included ones for “Touched by an Angel,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Knight Rider,” “The New Adventures of Flipper,” “Falcon Crest” and Pax TV drama “Doc,” his last show.
In one episode of “Doc,” Wallengren wrote about the struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, for which he won the National Courage Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. Wallengren developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2000. The ailment, which attacks nerves in the brain, left him quadriplegic. Unable to speak or use his hands, he continued to be a consultant using Morse code via a head-mounted device.
National Merit Scholar attended U. of Utah before completing high school and served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Central America 1974-76. After gaining a B.A. with honors from Loyola Marymount U., he started his TV career.
He also wrote “Mr. Kruger’s Chrtismas” starring Jimmy Stewart and was active in civc activities including co-founding the Blue Eagles Basketball Club and assisting troubled youths.
He is survived by his wife, two daughters, three sons, his parents, five siblings, five stepsiblings, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Donations can be made to the E.F. Wallengren Fund for ALS Research, c/o ALSA, 27001 Agoura Road, Suite 150, Calabasas Hills CA 91301-5104.