Writer, producer and longtime Quinn Martin collaborator Philip Saltzman dies at age 80

Philip Saltzman was an accomplished writer for television in the 1950s and ’60s, specializing in scripts for one-hour dramatic series before becoming a successful TV producer in the 1970s. Though he wrote episodes of such popular shows as Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Wanted: Dead or Alive and Run For Your Life, he is best known for his many collaborations with Quinn Martin, first as a freelance writer on such QM shows as Twelve O’Clock High, The F.B.I. and The Fugitive, then as the show runner on the long-running CBS private detective series Barnaby Jones.

Our friend Paul Robert Coyle, a prolific TV writer in his own right, reports that Saltzman passed away in his sleep on Aug. 14 at the Motion Picture & Television Country in Woodland Hills. He was 80 years old and had apparently been ill for quite some time. “Phil was a class act,” said Paul, who wrote several episodes of Barnaby Jones in the late 1970s, then later worked with Saltzman in the 1980s on Crazy Like a Fox and Jake and the Fatman.

I had the opportunity to speak to Saltzman several times in the early 1990s while writing and researching my book The Fugitive Recaptured. I remember that he spoke softly yet fondly about his work on the show (he wrote six episodes of The Fugitive, including one of the very best episodes of the series, “Cry Uncle”) and his friendship with David Janssen (he had previously written for Janssen on Richard Diamond, Private Detective).

Sadly, the Los Angeles Times published just a short news brief on Saltzman’s passing, but there’s a nice obituary written by our friend Stephen Bowie for his Classic TV History blog. In addition, Saltzman gave a lengthy interview for Filmfax magazine in 2004 in which he discussed his long career in television.

Ed Robertson
Author, THE FUGITIVE RECAPTURED and other books on televison
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