Sherwood Schwartz, who created and wrote the iconic 1960s and ’70s TV series Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, died today. He was 94. Schwartz was working on a big-screen version of Gilligan’s Island, he nephew told the Associated Press, before he was hospitalized at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles about a week ago with an intestinal infection.
Schwartz was born in 1916 in Passaic, N.J., and grew up in Brooklyn. He teamed as a writer with his brother Al, who worked for Bob Hope and got Sherwood a job writing jokes for Hope’s radio show while still in college. They eventually wrote for other radio and TV series including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. “They helped shape television in its early days,” said Douglas Schwartz, Al’s son and creator of Baywatch, who credits his uncle as a mentor. “Sherwood is an American classic, creating Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, iconic shows that are still popular today. He continued to produce all the way up into his 90s.”
Schwartz created Gilligan’s Island in 1964; the slapstick-y comedy about seven castaways on a deserted island was a fan favorite and ran until 1967, spawning a few TV movies, an ABC cartoon and even a reality series (TBS’ The Real Gilligan’s Island). The Brady Bunch, meanwhile, about a widow with three daughters and a widower with three sons who marry and form a squeaky clean family, ran from 1969-1974. That series also was endearing to audiences — three one-season spinoffs in three different decades followed, and the 1995 spoof The Brady Bunch Movie was a hit with Shelley Long playing Florence Henderson’s mom and Gary Cole as Robert Reed’s dad. A Very Brady Sequel followed in 1996.
Schwartz’s survivors include his wife Mildred; sons Donald, Lloyd and Ross Schwartz; and daughter Hope Juber.