Saturday, August 14, 2010

David L. Wolper (1928-2010)

He was one of the most prolific television producers of the 60's & 70's. It can also be said that David L. Wolper, who passed away on Tuesday at 82, was the father of the television miniseries.

Wolper worked mostly in television, but did have a few feature films on his resume, most prominently "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971). Television viewers will remember him for the Emmy award winning, groundbreaking 1977 miniseries, Roots, its sequel, Roots: The Next Generation (1979), the National Geographic series of specials, the sitcoms Welcome Back, Kotter & Chico and The Man, and the documentary series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which was run periodically on ABC during the 60's & 7o's, often narrated by another television legend, Rod Serling (Night Gallery, Twilight Zone). Wolper also earned acclaim for the 1964 special, The Selling of the President 1960.

Today, you don't see the kind of programs that Wolper was known for, except maybe for PBS and certain cable networks. The broadcast networks just don't see money (ad revenue, that is) in documentary specials anymore. Rest in peace, David.

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