Emmy winner William Froug, a TV writer, producer and executive who also taught, authored books and was active in the WGA, died August 25 of natural causes in a Sarasota, FL hospice. He was 91. After a Navy stint in the Pacific during World War II, the NYC native sold his first novella to True Detective magazine in 1946. He transitioned to writing, directing and producing for radio, rising to VP Programs at CBS Radio in Hollywood by 1956. Froug followed the business to TV, contributing as a writer-producer to such series as The Twilight Zone, Playhouse 90 and Gilligan’s Island. He won an Emmy and PGA Award in 1958 for the telefilm Eddie, starring Mickey Rooney, and shared an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy nom for Bewitched in 1967. His other small-screen credits include Bonanza, Charlie’s Angels, Quincy, M.E. and The Paper Chase. In 1987, he received the WGA’s Valentine Davies Award for his industry/community service and “for bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere”.
After rising to Executive in Charge of Drama for CBS, Froug segued into teaching. He was an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Cinema from 1968-75 and later became a tenured professor at the UCLA School of Theater Arts, Film, and Television. Froug also frequently taught in Copenhagen for the Danish government, lectured in Australia, taught or lectured at numerous U.S. universities.
As an author, Froug published several best-selling screenwriting books, including Screenwriting Tricks Of The Trade (1992), Zen & The Art Of Screenwriting: Insights & Interviews (1996), and The Screenwriter Looks At The Screenwriter (1991), as well as his autobiography, How I Escaped From Gilligan’s Island…And Other Misadventures Of A Hollywood Writer-Producer (2005). Several of his screenwriting guides have become university texts around the nation.
A WGA West member since 1946, Froug also was active in the guild. He served a term on the Board of Directors from 1980-82, acted as an Academic Liaison on behalf of the guild during the ’70s and early ’80s, and served on numerous Guild committees over the years. He was also a founding member of The Caucus for Writers, Producers, and Directors, serving as Co-Chairman (1977-78), Chairman (1979), and as a member of the Executive Committee & Steering Committee for a dozen years.