SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ . . . the man who created both “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch”. . . died yesterday in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 94.
Schwartz not only created two of the most beloved shows in the history of TV, he also wrote their theme songs . . . which are also among the most popular in TV history.
Critics HATED the shows, but audiences latched on to them . . . especially in syndication during the ’70s and ’80s, which is when they became HUGE.
“Gilligan’s” initial run lasted three seasons, from 1964 to 1967. “The Brady Bunch” aired for five seasons, from 1969 to 1974.
Let’s see if you remember the words to the songs….
Schwartz is survived by his wife of 69 years, Mildred, plus three sons and a daughter.
At the time of his death, Schwartz was working on a movie version of “Gilligan’s Island”. (–And he reportedly wanted MICHAEL CERA to play Gilligan, and BEYONCÉ to play Ginger Grant, the movie star.)
Only three members of the original “Gilligan’s Island” cast are still alive. Russell “The Professor” Johnson is 86 . . . Dawn “Mary Ann” Wells is 72 . . . and Tina “Ginger” Louise is 77.
The castaways’ ship was named the SS Minnow after FCC Chairman Newton Minnow . . . who famously referred to TV as, quote, “a vast wasteland” in the early ’60s.
Pretty much everyone from the “Brady Bunch” cast is still alive, except Robert Reed, who played the dad, Mike Brady. He died in 1992 of colon cancer and lymphoma. He was HIV-positive, but he did NOT have, or die of, AIDS, as is often reported.
If you count Sam the Butcher, then yeah, he’s gone, too. The actor who played him, Allan Melvin, died in 2008.
Here’s one last bit of trivia for you: Schwartz originally wanted GENE HACKMAN to play Mike Brady . . . but the network suits weren’t down with that.