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Ex-WGA prexy Kirgo dies

Guild mainstay a screenwriter, TV scribe since '54

Former WGA West president George Kirgo, who led the guild during the 1988 strike, died Sunday in Santa Monica after a long illness. He was 78.

Kirgo, a gregarious presence at WGA events, had been a screenwriter and TV writer since 1954.

He served the WGA West as president from 1987-91; a board member from 1985-87; chair of the president’s committee on the professional status of writers, 1988-91; the blacklist credits committee; and the executive director search committee. He was extensively involved with the WGA Awards show, serving on the writing staff from 1970-98.

He received the Morgan Cox Award for service to the guild in 2001.

Kirgo’s feature credits include “Voices”; “Don’t Make Waves”; “Red Line 7000,” co-written with Howard Hawks; and “Spinout,” co-written with Theodore Flicker, which received a WGA nomination. He wrote 15 telepics, including “Angel on My Shoulder,” which also received a WGA nomination.

Kirgo also wrote extensively for episodic TV, including “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Room 222,” “Love, American Style,” “Adam’s Rib,” “My Mother the Car” and “Get Christy Love.”

Kirgo was a founding member of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and recipient of the Presidents Award from PEN in 1988. He also served as a VP of the Writers Guild Foundation.

Kirgo was married to Angela Wales Kirgo, former exec director of the Australian Writers Guild and current program director of the Writers Guild Foundation.

Kirgo was married for 38 years to Terry Newell, who died in 1986.

In addition to his second wife, he is survived by three children from his first marriage — screenwriters Julie Kirgo and Dinah Kirgo and musician-songwriter Nick Kirgo — along with a stepson, Alec Perrin, and four grandchildren.

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