Irving Elman dies at 96

Was playwright, TV writer-producer

Irving Elman, who was a Broadway playwright and a writer and producer for movies and television, died Nov. 22 in La Jolla, Calif., of cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 96.

Elman penned three plays mounted on Broadway (“The First Million” in 1943, “The Brass Ring” in 1952 and “Uncle Willie” in 1957) and 10 plays and four musicals produced Off Broadway and elsewhere around New York and other stages worldwide; he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama. During the 1940s, Elman wrote the screenplays to eight B movies, most independently produced but released by 20th Century Fox: “Accomplice,” “Strange Journey,” “Backlash,” “Jewels of Brandenberg,” “The Crimson Key,” “Roses Are Red,” “13 Lead Soldiers” and “Challenge.” Elman was a television writer from the early days of live television until the late 1980s, penning more than 2,000 produced teleplays across a broad of genres for programs including “Hallmark Hall of Fame,” “Studio One,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Brothers Brannagan,” “The Verdict Is Yours” and “The Eleventh Hour.”

With his wife Tex, Elman was head writer of the daytime soaps “Search for Tomorrow” and “General Hospital.” The couple are credited with creating the “General Hospital” character Luke (of Luke and Laura) and reviving what had been a flagging series.

Elman also produced five television series: medical shows “The Eleventh Hour” and “Ben Casey”; Western “High Chaparral”; political drama “Slattery’s People” (for which he drew two Emmy nominations in 1966); and “Matt Lincoln,” about a psychiatrist. Elman also produced telepics “The Cliffdwellers” and “Roaring Camp.”

In his later years, he authored five published books: “So You Want to Be a Scriptwriter and Make a Million Dollars?,” “Abe Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog,” “Bells on Her Toes,” “A Tango in Time” and “Sherlock Holmes: The Naked Truth.”

Irving Stanton Elman was born in Paterson, N.J. Tex died in 2006.

He is survived by two sons; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to San Diego Hospice or White Sands of La Jolla Retirement Community.

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