David Dortort, the creator and producer of one of the most popular series ever to air on TV, has died at age 93, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The series, "Bonanza," debuted on NBC in 1959 as the first prime-time western to be broadcast in color, helping to spur consumer demand for color television sets, the story says. The show starred Lorne Greene as the patriarch of the Ponderosa Ranch, with his three sons played by Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.
Dortort died in his sleep Sunday, September 5, 2010, at his home in Westwood, California, the article says.
"Bonanza," which remained on air for 14 seasons, was one of TV’s top-rated shows throughout the 1960s and continues to draw audiences in syndication, the story says. Dortort also created and produced NBC’s grittier western "The High Chaparral," which aired from 1967 to 1971.
After starting out as a novelist and then learning how to write screenplays, Dortort moved into television and wrote three episodes of the NBC and ABC anthology series "Fireside Theatre," the article says.
One of the stories he wrote, about the discovery of gold and silver in Nevada, inspired "Bonanza," the story adds. The show’s success, however, was due to focus on family values, Dortort often said. ""At a time when the dysfunctional family was becoming a current way of life in this country, this was a functional family," he said in a 2001 interview with the Los Angeles Times.
And now, it’s time to crank up the volume as you play the following video: the theme from "Bonanza":