Sherwood Schwartz

Last updated
Sherwood Schwartz
Sherwood Schwartz Star Ceremony.jpg
Schwartz receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2008)
Born
Sherwood Charles Schwartz

(1916-11-14)November 14, 1916
DiedJuly 12, 2011(2011-07-12) (aged 94)
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California
Occupation
  • Television producer
  • Radio and television screenwriter
Years active1938–2011
Spouse(s)
Mildred Seidman(m. 1941)
Children4, including Lloyd

Sherwood Charles Schwartz ( /ʃwɔːrts/ ; November 14, 1916 – July 12, 2011) was an American television producer. He worked on radio shows in the 1940s, but he now is best known for creating the 1960s television series Gilligan's Island on CBS and The Brady Bunch on ABC. On March 7, 2008, Schwartz, at the time still active in his 90s, was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [1] That same year, Schwartz was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. [2]

Contents

Life and career

Schwartz's entertainment career came "by accident". He relocated from New York to southern California to pursue a Master of Science degree in Biology. In need of employment, he began writing jokes for Bob Hope's radio program, for which Schwartz's brother, Al Schwartz, worked. Schwartz recalled that Hope "liked my jokes, used them on his show and got big laughs. Then he asked me to join his writing staff. I was faced with a major decision—writing comedy or starving to death while I cured those diseases. I made a quick career change." [3]

He went on to write for Ozzie Nelson's The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and other radio shows. Schwartz served in the United States Army for over four years. While serving, he was a writer on the Armed Forces Radio Network before he got his break in television. From 1956 to 1962, Schwartz was head writer for The Red Skelton Show, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1961. He went on to create and produce Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch . He wrote the theme song for three of his shows: Gilligan's Island (co-wrote), It's About Time , and The Brady Bunch.

Syndication turned his two major successes into TV institutions with cultural relevance. He made them icons, and as a result he became a television icon. [4]

TV appearances

During the late 1990s and the 2000s, he made many appearances on TV talking about his series, on shows such as the CBS Evening News , 20/20 , TV Land's Top Ten and A&E's Biography . He also took part in a "Creators" marathon on Nick at Nite in the late 1990s. [5] He was also a guest at the 2004 TV Land Awards.

In 1988, Schwartz appeared on The Late Show with Ross Shafer for a Gilligan's Island reunion, along with all seven castaways from Gilligan's Island. This was the last time they were all together on television. He also appeared as himself in a 1995 episode of Roseanne titled "Sherwood Schwartz, A Loving Tribute", which also featured the four surviving "Gilligan's Island" cast members.

Personal life

Schwartz was born in Passaic, New Jersey, to a Jewish family. [6] His parents were Herman and Rose Schwartz. He was a younger brother of writer Al Schwartz. His younger brother, Elroy Schwartz (1923-2013), a comedy writer, became a principal screenwriter for Gilligan's Island and other series. [7] Sherwood Schwartz is the uncle of Douglas Schwartz, Bruce Schwartz and Judithe Randall.

On December 23, 1941, Sherwood Schwartz married Mildred Seidman, and together they had four children: Donald Schwartz, who became an ophthalmologist; Lloyd J. Schwartz, who worked with his father and in show business; Ross Schwartz, who became an attorney; and Hope Juber, a writer and producer. His granddaughter is singer-songwriter Ilsey Juber, the daughter of Hope and guitarist Laurence Juber, the former lead guitarist for the band Wings.

Sherwood Schwartz's play, Rockers, a comedy-drama, had a production at Theatre West in honor of his 90th birthday.

Pop culture references

On a Robin Hood-themed episode of The Beverly Hillbillies , a character states that Sherwood Forest is a relative of Sherwood Schwartz. Also, a Roseanne episode was entirely devoted to Gilligan's Island and was titled "Sherwood Schwartz: A Loving Tribute".

In Raising Hope , Sherwood is indirectly mentioned during the opening scene of the second season as someone who "started each day with a song that perfectly recapped what was going on". Then she points to an empty chair with a Gilligan-type sailor cap on it. During the episode, the main character, Jimmy, loses his memory and his doctor advises him that unlike a sitcom, memory can't be regained by hitting someone on the head again and uses an episode of Gilligan's Island to illustrate the point.

In the A.N.T. Farm episode "America Needs TalANT," Olive Doyle and Paisley Houndstooth become contestants on a game show named "The Brainy Bunch" (hosted by Barry Williams) and Paisley keeps pressing the buzzer with goofy answers. When Olive demands that Paisley stop pushing the button, the next topic turns out to be related to cosmetology, which the usually dimwitted Paisley has genuine knowledge about. Olive's reaction is to blurt out "Sherwood Schwartz" in frustration.

Schwartz was portrayed by Aaron Lustig in the TV movie Surviving Gilligan's Island and by Michael Tucker in Growing Up Brady.

Schwartz's name was also mentioned in Netflix's Sandy Wexler in a conversation between Adam Sandler and Jennifer Hudson.

Death

On July 12, 2011, Sherwood Schwartz died of natural causes in his sleep. [8]

Filmography

Schwartz produced a number of radio and TV shows during his career.

SeriesYearsJob
The Bob Hope Show 1938–1942Writer for radio version
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet 1940sWriter for radio version
The Alan Young Show 1940sWriter for radio version
I Married Joan 1952–1955Writer
The Red Skelton Show 1956–1962Writer
My Favorite Martian 1963Script supervisor
Gilligan's Island 1964–1967Writer, creator, producer
It's About Time 1966–1967Writer, creator, producer
The Brady Bunch 1969–1974Writer, creator, producer
Dusty's Trail 1973–1974Writer, creator, producer
Big John, Little John 1976Producer
Harper Valley PTA 1981–1982Writer, producer
Together We Stand 1986–1987Writer, producer

Stage productions

On November 10, 2006, his play Rockers opened in Theater West in California. In 1990, he wrote Gilligan's Island: The Musical , still in production as of 2011. His son Lloyd, daughter Hope, and son-in-law Laurence Juber worked on the play as well. [ citation needed ]

Unsold pilots

He wrote and executive produced two unsold television pilots:

Awards

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References

  1. "Brady Bunch & Gilligan's Island Creator Receives Hollywood Walk of Fame Star". TV Series Final. March 7, 2008. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
  2. "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List".
  3. "Sherwood Schwartz Dead at 94". Hollywood Hiccups. 2011-07-12.
  4. "'Gilligan's Island' & 'The Brady Bunch' Creator Dies". KHITS Chicago. July 13, 2011. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011.
  5. The Associated Press (2000-07-28). "Sitcom producers pick favorites for Nick at Nite 15th anniversary". CNN. Archived from the original on 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
  6. Bloom, Nate (December 19, 2006). "The Jews Who Wrote Christmas Songs". InterfaithFamily.com. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
  7. "Elroy Schwartz, TV writer, dies at 89". The Desert Sun . 2013-06-17. Archived from the original on 2013-07-06. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  8. "Sherwood Schwartz, creator of 'The Brady Bunch' and 'Gilligan's Island', dies at age 94". Washington Post. July 12, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-12.