Playwright and TV Writer Who Won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Dies at 89. He Also Created Amos Burke, the Main Character in the Fondly Remembered 1960’s Police Drama ‘Burke’s Law’

Sep 14, 2015  •  Post A Comment

He was a playwright, a TV writer, and a screenwriter. Entertainment Weekly (EW) notes that Frank Gilroy “wrote the 1964 play ‘The Subject Was Roses,’ which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. He also adapted the work for a 1968 film version that starred Patricia Neal, Martin Sheen and Jack Albertson.”

The New York Times reports that Gilroy “died on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at his home in Monroe, N.Y. He was 89.”

EW says that Gilroy “wrote for several live television shows including ‘Studio One,’ ‘Omnibus,’ ‘Playhouse 90,’ ‘Kraft Theatre,’ and the ‘U.S. Steel Hour’ before making his theater debut with the 1962 play ‘Who’ll Save the Plowboy?,’ which won an Obie Award.”

Gilroy also created the character Amos Burke, who was first seen on an episode of the “Dick Powell Theatre,” and played by Powell. Several years later the character was revived as the lead in a new Friday night ABC series, “Burke’s Law,” and this time Gene Barry played Burke. The series debuted in September, 1963, and ran until January, 1966. A less successful reboot, again starring Barry, ran on CBS in 1994 and during the summer of 1995.

EW notes that Gilroy “is survived by his wife of 62 years, Ruth, and their three sons, all of whom work in Hollywood. Tony Gilroy wrote the first three Bourne films and co-wrote and directed the 2012 installment ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ while Dan Gilroy wrote and directed the Jake Gyllenhaal film ‘Nightcrawler’ and co-wrote ‘The Bourne Legacy’ with his brother. John Gilroy is an editor whose work includes such films as ‘Michael Clayton,’ ‘Nightcrawler,’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy.’”

Here’s a short video of the beginning of the 1960’s version of “Burke’s Law”:

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