Posts Tagged ‘film and television writers’

Writer/producer George Eckstein dies at age 81

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

If George Eckstein were just remembered for co-writing “The Judgment,” the record-setting two-part concluding episode of The Fugitive, that would’ve been enough to leave his mark in television. But Eckstein’s accomplishments beyond “The Judgment” were impressive in their own right. In addition to penning some of the best episodes of the Fugitive series (including “Ill Wind,” featuring Jeanette Nolan and John McIntire), Eckstein wrote for several other popular TV shows in the ’50s and ’60s, including Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare, The Invaders and The Untouchables. He also went on to become a successful producer for Universal Television in the late 60s and 1970s, with credits including such series and TV-movies as The Name of the Game, Banacek and a taut little thriller called Duel that, besides being a really good movie, put a then-unknown director named Steven Spielberg on the map.

I had the pleasure of speaking to George Eckstein on several occasions throughout the 1990s, first for my book The Fugitive Recaptured, then for a history of The Untouchables that I wrote for Television Chronicles. He was also very generous with his time, not to mention very gracious.

The final episode of The Fugitive, of course, was seen by a whopping 72 percent of the television viewing audience when it originally aired on Aug. 29, 1967. That figure has has been topped just twice in the 42 years since, first by the “Who Done It?” episode of Dallas (aka the episode that finally answered the question “Who Shot J.R.?”) on Nov. 21, 1980, then by “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the series finale of M*A*S*H, which originally aired on Feb. 28, 1983.

Read the obituary on George Eckstein from The Los Angeles Times:,0,305987.story

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