A television pioneer who created two of the most enduring — and ridiculed — sitcoms of all time has died, The New York Times reports. The creator of “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch,” Sherwood Schwartz was 94.
Schwartz died this morning in Los Angeles of natural causes. The Archive of American Television announced his death.
The story reports: “Mr. Schwartz weathered painfully dismissive reviews to see his shows prosper and live on for decades in syndication. Many critics suggested that they were successful because they ran counter to the tumultuous times in which they appeared: the era of the Vietnam War and sweeping social change.”
The story quotes David Marc and Robert J. Thompson, authors of “Prime Time, Prime Movers,” who describe Schwartz as an innovator who made a “surgical strike into the national psyche.” Referring to “Gilligan’s Island,” the authors wrote: “Schwartz was pioneering a dramatic matrix built upon the emerging cultural concept of the ‘support group’: a collection of demographically diverse characters thrown together by circumstance and forced to become an ersatz ‘family’ in order to survive.”
Schwartz’s other credits include "Harper Valley PTA" and "It’s About Time."
He died in his sleep, surrounded by family, including his wife of 69 years, Mildred Schwartz, and four children.