Sherwood Schwartz, who created and produced two of the most enduringly popular series on television, “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch,” died today at 94.
“Gilligan’s Island,” about the trials and tribulations of seven shipwrecked castaways, aired on CBS for just three seasons, from 1964 to 1967, and was never a favorite of critics. But fans adored its gags and corny jokes, and the show has enjoyed a sort of immortality in reruns and parodies.
The show spawned a musical and a franchise of made-for-television and reunion movies, and its characters – including the wholesome farm girl Mary Ann Summers, glamorous Ginger Grant and Bob Denver’s bumbling Gilligan – have become fixtures in American pop culture.
Last year, Warner Bros. agreed to make a movie version of the campy classic.
Mr. Schwartz said he interviewed 464 children to find the stars of his other big hit, “The Brady Bunch,” about a blended family of three blonde girls, three brunette boys and their parents. Like “Gilligan’s Island,” “The Brady Bunch” had a long life in syndication and offshoot films after its five-season run from 1969-1974.
Mr. Schwartz claimed his creations were more than simple light comedy. “All my shows actually are how do people learn to get along with each other,” he said in a 1997 interview with the Archive of American Television. “It’s about humanity,” he said of “Gilligan’s Island.”
“That was the idea of the show. And it’s the most important idea in the world today.”
Mr. Schwartz began his career writing for Bob Hope’s radio show in 1939. He wrote for a number of television programs, including “The Red Skelton Show” and “My Favorite Martian,” before creating his own shows. A full obituary is in the works. Meantime, you can check out our Schwartz photo gallery and sing along to Gilligan’s theme song (co-written by Mr. Schwartz), below.