Veteran television writer James Schmerer, whose credits encompass some of the most popular series of the 1970s and ’80s including MacGyver, CHiPs, Vega$, Fantasy Island and Starsky & Hutch, died Oct. 4 at his home in Eugene, Oregon, following a stroke. He was 81.
Schmerer’s death was announced by Writers Guild of America West.
A native of Flushing, New York, Schmerer launched his television writing career in the 1960s (he became a WGAW member in 1965), and by the ’70s was a sought-after scripter for action series of all types, with the occasional family series – Eight is Enough – and sci-fi show – Star Trek: The Animated Series – tossed in for good measure.
Just a few of the other series that carried a Schmerer “Written by” credit: Hawaii Five-0, The Six Million Dollar Man, The High Chaparral, T.J. Hooker, and The Fall Guy.
Schmerer also wrote scripts for The Rookies, The Streets of San Francisco, The Mod Squad, Medical Center, Mannix, Wimzie’s House, Matt Helm, Isis, True Confessions, The New Mike Hammer, Logan’s Run, Code R, 24-Robert and Tales of the Unexpected.
In addition to writing, Schmerer served as a producer on the ’69-71 Western The High Chaparral, 1972’s The Delphi Bureau starring starring Laurence Luckinbill, and the 1973 Stephen J. Cannell-created cop drama Chase. Schmerer was an associate producer on the ’60s series Daniel Boone, The Silencers, and the entertainment industry documentary series Hollywood and the Stars.
Schmerer is survived by his daughter, Pamela Schmerer Noyes, and her husband, Damon Noyes. A Celebration of Life to honor Schmerer’s life and legacy is planned for Saturday, November 2 in Eugene, OR. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made in Schmerer’s name to the Oregon Humane Society.
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