David L. Wolper, the producer who purchased the TV rights to Alex Haley’s "Roots" before Haley had even finished writing it, has died at age 82.
"Wolper died Tuesday [August 10, 2010] at his Beverly Hills home of congestive heart disease and complications of Parkinson’s disease, said Dale Olson, his longtime publicist," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Besides producing the game-changing, blockbuster 12-hour "Roots" miniseries in 1977, Wolper is probably best known for the "spectacular opening and closing ceremonies he created for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles," the article said.
Furthermore, the Times notes, "In 1998, TV Guide named him one of the "45 People Who Made a Difference" in shaping the medium of television. As one of TV’s top creative forces, Wolper’s ‘many contributions to broadcast history have embedded themselves in the American psyche,’ the magazine said."
Additionally, in 1971 Wolper produced a movie that’s close to the heart of many who saw it when they were growing up: the Gene Wilder version of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
Wolper also produced many documentaries in the 1960s.
In his astonishing career "Wolper oversaw the production of more than 300 films that have won more than 150 awards, including two Oscars, 50 Emmys and five Peabody Awards," the article said.
An L.A. Times picture of Wolper working in the 1960s