Jan DeWitt, a longtime television producer of shows including “Bones” and “Judging Amy,” died Jan 29 at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 75.
DeWitt spent nearly 50 years working in the film and television industry. He began his career as a prop assistant and set painter and worked his way up to assistant director and unit production managerial roles on shows including “Miami Vice,” “Nowhere Man,” “Family Guy” and “The New Leave It To Beaver” before becoming a producer on “Judging Amy” and eventually ending his career in 2017 as an executive producer on “Bones.” Between those two shows alone, he oversaw production of more than 300 episodes of television.
His family, friends and colleagues remember DeWitt as a kind and devoted man who was passionate and capable in all areas of his life, from traveling in his Airstream to overseeing high budget productions. He is remembered as a devoted father to his daughter, Anika DeWitt Pepper, and as a loving grandfather to her children.
One friend, Mark Indig, described DeWitt as “always in motion,” “tough as nails” and “a renaissance man in a farmer John package.” He added: “You’d never know from his appearance or attitude that he had created a paradise on four acres in Mission Canyon in Santa Barbara, where everyone was welcome. Or that he often commuted there from long production hours in L.A. to spend time with his daughter.”
DeWitt was born in Santa Barbara, along with brother Jack and twin sister Jane. According to Deadline, at 18 he obtained documentation from the National Maritime Union and traveled up the Mekong River by boat before studying agriculture in college and going to work on a farm in Australia. Eventually, he got a job in Spain as a prop assistant on a film written by his father, Jack DeWitt, and thus began his career in show business.
Many of those who were acquainted with DeWitt have shared their memories of him online following his death. One friend and colleague, Andy House, wrote: “Jan is among the most capable men I’ve ever known, he built a house, he was a gourmet cook, he sailed a broken ship a quarter of the way around the world and he could run a movie company but I’ll remember him for the twinkle in his eye when he told a story.”
Another colleague, Rob Bolger, shared a story of DeWitt’s humor on set and wrote, “Wherever you are Jan I know you’re dressed like a baggie REI catalog.” One more added: “I remember him as a kind, calm and yet formidable force. Somehow it all got done under Jan’s watch.”
DeWitt is survived by a daughter, brother and twin sister, as well as his nephews Charlie DeWitt and Joel Casey, niece Shannon MacMillan, great-nephews Jackson and Nicholas and great-niece Brianna, as well as grandchildren Holden and Hayes. He also leaves behind close friends John and Christina Kousakis and their four children and their families, his longtime friend Charlene Huston and her family, and his devoted helpers Juan and Carmen Guarneros.
The family requests that people make donations to their favorite charity or have a barbecue with friends in DeWitt’s honor. Family, friends and colleagues are also invited to share memories on a memorial site made in DeWitt’s honor.