Screenwriter and novelist Jeb J. Rosebrook died Aug. 31 in Scottsdale, AZ. He was 83.
Born in New York City on June 11, 1935, Rosebrook was raised in NYC and Connecticut before being diagnosed with childhood asthma. His parents sent him to the Quarter Circle V Bar Ranch School in Prescott, AZ and spend Christmas in New York or Los Angeles. His adventures in various states would shape his life as a storyteller.
His career in the film and TV industry started with NBC in New York in 1956. He attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and returned to New York in 1957 before heading west.
After marrying Dorothy Fischer, Jeb and his wife moved to the Los Angeles and settled in Brentwood. He worked for an advertising agency and in 1965 he published his first novel titled Saturday. He went on to pursue screenwriting for film and television in 1967 and was mentored by his friend Earl Hamner, Jr. Rosebrook received his first big break in 1970 when producer Joe Wizan optioned his story Bonner and commissioned Jeb’s original screenplay Junior Bonner for acting legend Steve McQueen and auteur Sam Peckinpah. In 1972, Junior Bonner was released and Rosebrook became a sought-after writer for episodic television series, movies-of-the week, docudramas and Christmas specials.
He went on to work for Hamner’s The Waltons, Miracle on 34th Street, I Will Fight No More Forever, Prince of Central Park and The Winds of Kitty Hawk. In 1979, he wrote the Disney film The Black Hole starring Anthony Perkins, for which he received a Saturn Award nomination and a Hugo Award nomination.
He developed a partnership with well-known Hollywood producer Joe Bryne in 1981. They remained writing and producing partners until his death, working on TV series such as The Yellow Rose and The Outsiders as well as numerous television specials including Hobo’s Christmas and The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues and Four Diamonds.
Rosebrook’s writing career spanned six decades during which he was nominated for two Writers Guild of America nominations for his work on The Waltons and his adaptation of the novel, The Prince of Central Park. He also received an Emmy nomination with co-writer Theodore Strauss for I Will Fight No More Forever: The Story of Chief Joseph.
Outside of screenwriting, Rosebrook he also wrote non-fiction, theater, novels and a memoir. This included a stage adaption of The Waltons episode titled “The Conflict” He published the first two volumes of his American Trilogy, Purgatory Road: The Road Between Heaven and Hell in 1951 Arizona, Forever More: Only the Beginning, when Charlemagne visits 1954 Virginia and meets God, Desegregation and Rock and Roll. Before he died, Rosebrook was working on the third volume titled Wake Up Little Susie. Most recently, he wrote his first western with Nel Jeppsen titled No Man’s Land which was adapted from an unproduced script Jack Ballard for Sam Peckinpah and Steve McQueen. His final book, which he worked on with his son Stuart was his memoir, Junior Bonner: The Making of a Classic with Steve McQueen and Sam Peckinpah in the Summer of 1971.
He is survived by his wife Dorthy, his son Jeb Stuart Rosebrook and daughter Katherine Fallon Rosebrook Goode as well as his grandchildren.
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