John Furia Jr., former Writers Guild of America West president and scripter on such TV skeins as “The Waltons,” “Twilight Zone” and “Dr. Kildare,” died Thursday night. He was 79.

Furia was president of the WGA West from 1973-75, served two terms on the board of directors and chaired or co-chaired its negotiating committee several times, including during the 2004 negotiations. He received the WGA’s Morgan Cox, Valentine Davies and Edmund H. North awards for leadership and guild service.

Furia was also a professor and former director of film writing at the USC School of Cinema-TV.

“He was a tireless advocate in the cause of improving the economic and professional status of writers,” said former WGA West president Daniel Petrie Jr. “In all of his service and advocacy, John displayed keen intellect, iron-willed determination and steely tough-mindedness.”

Scripting credits include “Bonanza,” “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Kung Fu” and telepics “The Death of Ocean View Park” and “The Healers.” TV producing credits include “Kung Fu,” “Gibbsville” and nearly 100 dramas for “Insight.”

“John’s character and dignity touched and influenced generations of writers from the founders of the guild itself to the newest of student-associates,” said WGA West president Patric M. Verrone in a statement.

Furia is survived by his wife, Mary, and seven children.