TV and film writer and producer Dick Berg, who created John Cassavetes-starring series “Johnny Staccato,” died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 87.
Berg was the father of ICM chief exec Jeff Berg, author A. Scott Berg, music producer Tony Berg and manager-producer Rick Berg.
Berg wrote for live TV shows such as “Kraft Theater,” “Studio One” and “Playhouse 90” in the early days of TV, then came to Hollywood to work in features and TV.
After creating “Johnny Staccato,” he produced TV for Universal, including detective program “Checkmate.” As producer on dramatic anthology shows “Alcoa Premiere” and “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater,” he hired writers including William Inge and Rod Serling; directors including Sydney Pollack and Mark Rydell; and actors Robert Redford, Anne Bancroft and Jason Robards.
Berg went on to run Stonehenge Prods., which produced dozens of TV movies and miniseries from the 1970s to the 1990s, usually based on bestselling books or historical events, including “Wallenberg,” James Michener’s “Space,” Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles,” Irving Wallace’s “The Word,” the Vietnam-centered “A Rumor of War” and Elmore Leonard’s “Pronto.”
He also produced the features “House of Cards,” with George Peppard and Orson Welles, and “Counterpoint,” starring Charlton Heston and Maximilian Schell.
Richard Berg was born in New York and grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y. After graduating from Lehigh U., he moved to Hollywood and worked as a dialogue coach for Roy Rogers and other Western stars at Republic Pictures.
Berg served two terms as president of the Hollywood chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara; four sons; and seven grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Writers Guild Foundation.