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August 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Legendary TV and film producer David L. Wolper has died in Beverly Hills, CA of congestive heart failure and Parkinson’s disease at age 82. His TV career began in the early ’60s when he challenged the absolute domination of the television networks’ news divisions by producing popular documentaries using Hollywood production talent like cinematographer James Wong Howe and selling them to independent TV stations. In the ’70s and ’80s he produced some of television’s most memorable miniseries, including Roots and The Thorn Birds. In 1984 he received much praise for his work on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles. In 1989 he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. In 1999 he gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times in which he lamented the disappearance of “event” television. Television executives, he said, “won’t do it because they’re afraid. … You have to have balls. You have to say, ‘We think it’s going to work. Let’s go with it.’ Either you’re going to kill the world, or you’re going to fall on your rear end.”