LOS ANGELES — Sherwood Schwartz, writer-creator of two of the best-remembered TV series of the 1960s and 1970s, Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, has died at age 94.
Great niece Robin Randall said Mr. Schwartz died at 4 a.m. Tuesday (July 13, 2011).
Mr. Schwartz was hospitalized at Cedars Sinai Medical Center about a week ago with an intestinal infection and underwent several surgeries. His wife, Mildred, and children have been at his side, said his nephew, Douglas Schwartz.
Sherwood Schwartz and his brother, Al, started as a writing team in TV's famed 1950s "golden age," said Douglas Schwartz, the late Al Schwartz's son. And he continued to produce all the way up into his 90s.
Sherwood Schwartz was working on a big-screen version of Gilligan's Island, his nephew said. Douglas Schwartz, who created the hit series Baywatch, called his uncle a longtime mentor and caring "second father" who helped guide him successfully through show business.
Success was the hallmark of Sherwood Schwartz's own career. Neither Gilligan nor Brady pleased the critics, but both managed to reverberate in viewers' heads through the years as few such series did, lingering in the language and inspiring parodies, spinoffs and countless standup comedy jokes.
Mr. Schwartz had given up a career in medical science to write jokes for Bob Hope's radio show. He went on to write for other radio and TV shows, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
In 1964, he dreamed up Gilligan's Island, a Robinson Crusoe story about seven disparate travelers who are marooned on a deserted Pacific Island after their small boat wrecks in a storm. TV critics called it gag-ridden corn. But audiences adored its far-out comedy. Mr. Schwartz insisted that the show had social meaning along with the laughs: "I knew that by assembling seven different people and forcing them to live together, the show would have great philosophical implications."
TV writers similarly looked down upon The Brady Bunch as a sugarcoated view of American family life. But again, during the 1970s when the nation was rocked by social turmoil, audiences seemed comforted by watching an attractive, well-scrubbed family engaged in trivial pursuits.
Mr. Schwartz claimed in 1995 that his creation had significance because "it dealt with real emotional problems: the difficulty of being the middle girl; a boy being too short when he wants to be taller; going to the prom with zits on your face."