William Froug, the Emmy-winning writer-producer, author and screenwriting professor who restructured UCLA’s entire screenwriting program, died of natural causes at the Tidwell House Hospice in Sarasota, Florida, on Aug. 25. He was 91.
As a television writer/producer, he was attached to series including “The Twilight Zone,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Playhouse 90” and “Adventures in Paradise.” His involvement in “Bewitched” earned him a shared Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series in 1967.
Before jumping into television, he served as producer-director for “Columbia Workshop,” a dramatic radio series, and was also writer, director and producer of “Brave New World,” another popular radio series.
His career in Hollywood started after a stint in the Navy, where he was a naval officer during WWII and was given command of his own ship in 1945 where, according to his daughter, he honed his writing skills. He sold his first novella to “True Detective Magazine” after an honorable discharge.
In 1958, he won an Emmy for best produced television series for “Eddie,” for which he also received a Producers Guild Award. Among other accolades, he received the Writers Guild of America, West’s Valentine Davies Award for industry/community service in 1987 and was named one of the “Emmy Legends of Television” by the Archive of America Television last year.
While serving as executive in charge of drama at CBS, he pursued teaching and became an adjunct professor at USC’s film school from 1968-1975. Later, he became a tenured professor at UCLA, where he restructured their film department.
Froug wrote several educational best-sellers, including “Screenwriting Tricks of the Trade,” “Zen & the Art of Screenwriting: Insights & Interviews” and “The Screenwriter Looks at the Screenwriter.” He also wrote an autobiography titled “How I Escaped from Gilligan’s Island…And Other Misadventures of a Hollywood Writer-Producer.”
His reputation and work in Hollywood earned praise from late film critic Roger Ebert.
“I know an old writer. His name is William Froug. He lives in Florida, and if you look him up on Amazon, you will see he is still writing brilliant and useful books about screenwriting and teleplays,” Ebert once said. “He is not merely as sharp as a tack; he is the standard by which they sharpen tacks.”
Froug is survived his four children – Suzy Allegra, Nancy Earth, Lisa Froug-Hirano, and Jonathan Froug – four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. At the time of his death, he was married to Christine Michaels of Sarasota, FL.