It’s being reported that renowned screenwriter Jackson Gillis “died peacefully Thursday, August 19, 2010,” in Moscow, Idaho, just “two days shy of his 94th birthday.” The cause of death is listed as pneumonia.
During his long career, Gillis was a key contributor to The Adventures of Superman as well as Perry Mason, and he scored plenty of other credits on TV crime dramas, including Columbo, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, Longstreet, Cade’s County, and The Snoop Sisters. The Crime TV History Blog adds that Gillis wrote “two scripts in collaboration with cult pulp novelist Day Keene” for Burke’s Law. His work on Columbo earned him both Emmy and Edgar Allan Poe award nominations.
The Gumshoe Site notes that Gillis “also authored two detective novels, Killers of Starfish (Lipponcott, 1977) and Chain Saw (St. Martin’s, 1988).” I remember reading and enjoying Killers of Starfish, which was set around Seattle and starred retired Los Angeles homicide investigator Jonas Duncan, but I don’t recall Chain Saw.
READ MORE: “Jackson Gillis, Prolific Writer of TV Drama, Dies at 93,” by Bruce Weber (The New York Times); “TV Writer Jackson Gillis Passes On,” by Mercurie (A Shroud of Thoughts); “Jackson Gillis Dies, Longtime TV Writer Who Dabbled in Spy Adventures” (The HMSS Weblog).