Jackson Gillis (1916-2010)

Prolific scriptwriter Jackson Gillis, who wrote dramatic scripts for dozens of television shows over the course of four decades, passed away on August 19th at the age of 93. Prior to his television career, Gillis wrote for radio. According to his Internet Movie Database entry, his first television work was a November 1952 episode of Racket Squad, broadcast on CBS. He then wrote more than a dozen episodes of syndicated half-hour drama I’m the Law in 1953, followed by three serials broadcast as part of The Mickey Mouse Club: “The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure”, “The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm” and “The Adventures of Spin and Marty” as well as 15 episodes of The Adventures of Superman, 11 episodes of Lassie and a handful of scripts for other shows. And all this during the 1950s.

During the 1960s, Gillis wrote regularly for Perry Mason, Lost in Space, Tarzan, along with one or two scripts each for shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Mod Squad, The Wild Wild West, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. and Bonanza. He wrote a number of episodes of Columbo and three episodes each for Mission: Impossible and Medical Center during the 1970s, plus episodes of Hawaii Five-O, Longstreet, Cade’s Country, The Snoop Sisters and Starsky and Hutch.

Although his career slowed down in the 1980s, Gillis still contributed to shows like Code Red, Knight Rider and Murder, She Wrote. He all but retired by the mid-1980s, with the exception of 1992 episode of Columbo. A script he wrote for The Adventures of Superman was remade in 1994 as an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Gillis was nominated for an Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama Emmy Award in 1972 for an episode of Columbo but lost. An obituary can be found at The New York Times; here‘s his entry at the George Reeves Hall of Fame.

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