Sherwood Charles Schwartz is an American television producer best known for the TV shows, "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch." He was born in Passaic, New Jersey to Jewish parents Herman and Rose Schwartz, and was the younger brother of comedy writer, Al and Elroy Schwartz, who later joined him on "Gilligan's Island" and other series. He was also joined by his son, Lloyd Schwartz, by Mildred Schwartz, who he married December 23, 1941.
Schwartz's career in television started by way of what he described as "a happy accident." He had moved from New york City to Los Angeles pursuing a Master of Science degree in Biology, where his brother Al got him a job with him writing material for comedian Bob Hope. Hope liked Sherwood's material that he gave him a regular job in his writing staff, a postion that led to Sherwood writing for "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" and other radio shows. He also became a writer on the Armed Forces Radio Network before developing the idea became "Gilligan's Island." Rejected by the networks, Schwartz further developed his series with plots for the first season and creating the opening theme song with the help of George Wyle. To the network's surprise, the resulting series dominated every night they aired it for three seasons until it was abruptly cancelled to return the previously cancelled "Gunsmoke" to the schedule. Schwartz's following series, "The Brady Bunch" was also a ratings success for seven seasons. Syndication turned both of his shows into TV institutions with cultural relevance. He made them icons, and as a result, he became a television icon himself.
Between 1979 and 1981, he followed "Gilligan's Island" up with Rescue from Gilligan's Island, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. Cast member Dawn Wells followed up in 2001 with a docudrama, Surviving Gilligan's Island, in which her co-stars, Bob Denver, Russell Johnson and herself reminiscing about the show between recreations of the series with Sherwood portrayed by actor Aaron Lustig.
Despite his successes, Sherwood failed to make it big with other creations. His pilots for "Scamps" in 1982, which starring Bob Denver, Dreama Denver and Joey Lawrence, and "The Invisible Woman" in 1983, also starring Bob Denver with Alexa Hamilton, George Gobel, and Harvey Korman failed to get picked up as series.
The legacy of both "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch" led to Sherwood appearing on many programs about the success of his career, such as "The CBS Evening News," "20/20,' "TV Land's Top Ten" and A&E's "Biography." He was also a guest at the 2004 "TV Land Awards" joined by the surviving guest stars of "Gilligan's Island," last appearing with the entire cast in 1988 on "The Late Show with Ross Shafer" for a "Gilligan's Island" reunion. On March 7, 2008, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joined by actresses Dawn Wells and Florence Henderson of "The Brady Bunch." he was also joined by Patrick Denver, representing his father, Bob Denver and by Christopher Knight and Susan Olsen, the child stars of "The Brady Bunch." He was also inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2008.
On July 12, 2011, Sherwood Schwartz died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes, survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Mildred Schwartz and their four children: Donald, Lloyd, Ross, and Hope. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was buried at the Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.
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