The problem was simple, but would have disastrous consequences if left unsolved. The United States had entered World War II, and military aircraft were barreling off the assembly lines. But with many military pilots deployed overseas, or soon to be, there was no way to transport the planes from the factories to the airfields where they were urgently needed.
Then someone remembered an untapped source of aeronautic talent: the thousands of American women who were licensed pilots. And so, in 1942, the Women Airforce Service Pilots — as the contingent of more than a thousand would be named — was born, freeing the men for service overseas.Attached to the Army
Air Forces, the WASPs, as they were known, were the first women to serve as United States military pilots. They performed duties formerly done by men: some ferried new planes to their destinations, others towed targets for aerial gunnery practice, still others were flight instructors.By all accounts, the women did their jobs capably and ardently — until the men came home and suddenly the Army had no need of them. Then, unable to work as peacetime pilots, they faded into the 1950s, receiving recognition as military veterans only decades after the war ended.
Violet Cowden, who died at 94 on April 10, was one of those women. In 1943 and 1944, assigned to the Army’s Air Transport Command, she flew some of the country’s most sophisticated planes, transporting them from factories to domestic airfields or to coastal debarkation points for shipment to foreign theaters.
She was the subject of a documentary, “Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story,” released last year.
A past president of the national WASP veterans’ group, Mrs. Cowden was among about 200 WASPs (fewer than 300 are now living) presented in 2010 with the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the country’s two highest civilian awards.
Mrs. Cowden, who flew a plane as recently as last year, lived in Huntington Beach, Calif. Her death, in nearby Newport Beach, was confirmed by her daughter, Kim Ruiz.
Ever since she was a child, watching hawks swoop over the family farm, Mrs. Cowden had yearned to fly. She was not quite sure how one went about it, until she discovered a marvelous thing called the airplane.
Violet Clara Thurn was born on Oct. 1, 1916, in a sod house in Bowdle, S.D. In 1936, she earned a teaching certificate from what was then the Spearfish Normal School, in Spearfish, S.D., and stayed in Spearfish to teach first grade. There, she rode her bicycle six miles each way to a local airfield for her first flying lessons. (She had no driver’s license.)
She knew immediately that she had found her calling. “The air is such a comfortable place for me,” Mrs. Cowden said in a 2007 interview with the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. “I feel so in oneness with life and with the world and everything when I’m in the air.”
After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Mrs. Cowden, by then a licensed pilot, asked to join the Civil Air Patrol but got no reply. “Everybody was joining something,” she said in the interview. “So I joined the Navy, because I liked their hats.”
She soon heard about the Women’s Flying Training Detachment, an early incarnation of the WASPs. Of the 25,000 women who applied, she was one of 1,830 accepted. She had lived for a week on a diet rich in bananas and malted milk to raise her weight from 92 pounds to 100, the required minimum.
She reported to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Tex., then a place of dust, desolation and rattlesnakes, for six months of rigorous training.
The women banded together through shared ritual. “They’d have picnics in the sky,” Mark C. Bonn, who with his wife, Christine, directed “Wings of Silver,” said in an interview. “If there was a group of girls picking up two or three planes from the same factory, they would have their lunch on their long trip at the same time. And so they would talk on the radio. ‘O.K., I’m having my apple.’ ‘I’m having my sandwich.’ ”
Because they were civil service employees and not military personnel, the WASPs had to pay for their own food, lodging and often capacious attire. There were no flight suits for women then, and Mrs. Cowden, barely more than 5 feet tall, was installed in a men’s Size 44 for the duration.
Mrs. Cowden, one of 1,074 women to complete training, was assigned to Love Field in Dallas. She logged hundreds of thousands of miles in a variety of planes, including the P-51 Mustang, the swift single-seat fighter she called “the love of my life.”
She once delivered a P-51 to the Tuskegee Airmen, the black military squadron. (There were also black women who had graduated from the Tuskegee Institute’s pilot training program; they were denied admission to the WASPs.)
Mrs. Cowden worked seven days a week, sleeping on commercial flights that ferried her to and from assignments. She flew in all weather, came down on runways without lights and sometimes took the controls of planes so fresh from the factory that they had never been tested. To fly such a plane, she often said, was like making footprints in soft virgin snow.
Her plane once caught fire on landing; thinking quickly, Mrs. Cowden saved her important papers and her makeup.
Thirty-eight WASPs died in accidents during training or while on duty; others were injured, some seriously.
By late 1944, male pilots began coming home, and they wanted their jobs back.
“We had defeated the Luftwaffe by then, and so our pilots were not dying at the rate that they had been,” said Katherine Landdeck, a historian at Texas Woman’s University who is an authority on the WASPs. “The whole purpose of the WASP program was to release male pilots for combat duty. By December of ’44, the WASPs were no longer releasing them, they were replacing them. And that was the argument that was used against them.”
That December, on a day Mrs. Cowden recalled as one of the worst in her life, the Army dissolved the WASPs.
Few airlines would hire a woman as a commercial pilot then. Mrs. Cowden went to work in New York in the only aviation job she could get — behind the ticket counter at Trans World Airlines. It was painful, she later said, to be so close to planes yet so far from the cockpit, and she soon left.
She became a partner in a California ceramics studio, married and had a child. She let her pilot’s license lapse, though friends who took her aloft over the years gladly ceded her the controls.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill granting the WASPs recognition as veterans, which allowed them limited benefits.
Besides her daughter, Mrs. Cowden is survived by two sisters, Betty Niese and Lillian Riede, and three grandchildren. Her husband, Warren William Cowden, known as Scott, whom she married in 1955, died in 2009.
Though Mrs. Cowden and her colleagues were consigned to the recesses of history, during the war their work was considered so vital that the airlines were ordered to displace any passenger if a WASP needed to be shuttled to an assignment.
This status was brought home to Mrs. Cowden one day after a place was made for her on a commercial flight to Memphis. Disembarking, she faced a throng of women huddled on the tarmac, looking unaccountably disappointed.
Mrs. Cowden had bumped Frank Sinatra.
The cause was cancer, his agent, Michael Oscars, said.
With his big, soulful eyes and sensitively handsome face, Mr. Sarrazin brought youthful innocence with a dash of countercultural rebelliousness to films like “The Flim-Flam Man” (1967), in which he played a reluctant apprentice to George C. Scott’s grifter, and the 1973 television drama “Frankenstein: The True Story,” in which he gave a Byronic performance as the monster.
He was in great demand in the 1970s. He played a pickpocket trainee in the James Coburn caper film “Harry in Your Pocket” (1973) and Barbra Streisand’s cabdriver husband in the screwball farce “For Pete’s Sake” (1974). He brought a brooding complexity to the title role of the horror film “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” (1975).
It was his performance in the 1969 film “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” a grueling existentialist drama directed by Sydney Pollack, that established him as one of the era’s more intriguing antiheroes. He played Robert Syverten, an aimless, unemployed film extra who enters a marathon dance contest with the equally desperate Gloria (Ms. Fonda), hoping to win recognition and prize money. Instead, after days spent circling the dance floor, he ends up fatally shooting his partner in a twisted act of mercy.
“You could have paid me a dollar a week to work on that,” Mr. Sarrazin told The Toronto Star in 1994. “It hits you bolt upright; I still get really intense when I watch it.”
Jacques Michel André Sarrazin was born on May 22, 1940, in Quebec City and grew up in Montreal. After dropping out of high school he acted in theater and television in Montreal and Toronto — he played Romeo to Geneviève Bujold’s Juliet in a live production on Canadian television — before being signed by Universal Studios in 1965.
He was assigned to the television series “The Virginian” and the TV movie “The Doomsday Flight” before making his big-screen debut in “Gunfight in Abilene” (1967), starring Bobby Darin and Leslie Nielsen.
“The Flim-Flam Man” put his career on the fast track. He played a drifting Malibu surfer in “The Sweet Ride” (1968) opposite Jacqueline Bisset, with whom he entered into a long romantic relationship, and a raw Confederate recruit (with James Caan) in “Journey to Shiloh” (1968), before being offered the role of Joe Buck in “Midnight Cowboy.”
Universal refused to let him take the role, which went to Jon Voight, but tried to make amends by steering him to Mr. Pollack and “They Shoot Horses.” The experience was every bit as demanding off screen as on.
“We stayed up around the clock for three or four days,” Mr. Sarrazin told The Toronto Star, adding that the director demanded that the actors remain in character. “Pollack said we should work until signs of exhaustion,” he said. “Fights would break out among the men; women started crying. I’d get into terrible fights with Bruce Dern.”
His career waned after the mid-1970s and “The Gumball Rally” (1976), his last prominent role. In 1993 he took a French-speaking role in the Canadian comedy “La Florida,” about a Quebec family trying to run a shabby motel in Hollywood, Fla. The film was a huge hit in Quebec, and as Romeo Laflamme, an-over-the-hill Canadian crooner and ladies’ man, Mr. Sarrazin became a cult figure in Montreal, where he returned to live in his 60s.
Mr. Sarrazin is survived by a brother, Pierre, of Toronto; a sister, Enid, of Montreal; and two daughters, Catherine and Michelle, also of Montreal.
‘RESTREPO’ DIRECTOR TIM HETHERINGTON AND PHOTOGRAPHER CHRIS HONDROS KILLED IN LIBYA
By C. J. CHIVERS
Published: April 20, 2011
BENGHAZI, Libya — Tim Hetherington
, a conflict photographer who was a director and producer of the Afghan war documentary “Restrepo,” was killed in the besieged city of Misurata, Libya, on Wednesday, and three photographers working beside him were wounded, one fatally, when they came under fire at the city’s front lines.
Eddy Risch/European Pressphoto Agency
Tim Hetherington in 2008.
Chris Hondros was killed Wednesday in Libya.
Chris Hondros of the Getty Images photo agency died later of devastating brain trauma. Guy Martin, who was filing photographs to the Panos agency, suffered a severe pelvic wound, said Andre Liohn, a colleague who was at the triage center
where the photographers were rushed by rebels after they were struck.Mr. Hondros suffered an extensive loss of brain tissue and was revived twice before being triaged from care. He spent several hours in a coma and died after 10 p.m., Mr. Liohn said.Mr. Martin
, a British citizen, underwent vascular surgery Wednesday night, according to the same account. As the night progressed, Mr. Liohn said that Mr. Martin’s bleeding had been stopped and that his prospects had improved, though a doctor said his condition was not yet stable.
The fourth photographer, Michael Christopher Brown, suffered shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder, but his life was not in danger. He was back in surgery late Wednesday night, Mr. Liohn said.
Misurata, Libya’s third-largest city, has been cut off by land from the rest of the country by military forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. It has been the scene of intensive, close-quarters fighting for weeks. Hundreds of Libyans have been confirmed killed.
The photographers had reached the city by sea from Benghazi, the rebel capital. Mr. Liohn said they had been working together on the rebel side of the front lines on Tripoli Street, one of the city’s main battle grounds. Watched by snipers and struck by all manner of incoming fire, from tank rounds to cluster bombs, it is an extended boulevard of ruins.
Mr. Liohn said rebels had been fighting house-to-house and making progress clearing blocks of buildings. There had been pitched fighting overnight Tuesday, he said, and the four photographers had arrived in the area late Wednesday morning.
Mr. Liohn said he worried that the Qaddafi forces would counterattack in the afternoon, then added, “And that’s what happened.”
About 3 p.m., Mr. Liohn said, the four were struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Nicole Tung, another journalist in Misurata, who helped the wounded photographers, said she thought the men might have been hit by a high-explosive mortar blast. Both weapons are in use by the Qaddafi forces fighting for Tripoli Street.
Rebels sped them to the triage center. All four were alive, but it was obvious from the outset, Mr. Liohn said, that Mr. Hetherington and Mr. Hondros were gravely wounded.
Mr. Hetherington had lost a large amount of blood, Mr. Liohn said, and doctors were unable to stabilize him.
“They tried to do cardiac massage for a very long time,” he said. “Maybe 15 minutes or more. Then they declared him dead.”
Mr. Hondros was unconscious and died late at night.
Covering the war in eastern Libya and Misurata in the west has proved to be especially treacherous for journalists, who have been subjected to airstrikes, and artillery, rocket, rifle and machine-gun fire, and they have faced the risk of arrest, beatings and detention from the pro-Qaddafi forces.
The risks during the fighting have been compounded by the difficulties of moving protective equipment into Libya through Egypt, where customs officials have tried to block the transit of helmets and flak jackets.Some journalists have managed to move the equipment to front lines, but most have not. Neither Mr. Hetherington nor Mr. Brown had protective gear in Misurata, Mr. Liohn said.
It was not immediately clear how Mr. Martin and Mr. Brown might be evacuated.
The Ionian Spirit, a vessel chartered by the International Organization for Migration, was in port in Misurata to evacuate migrant workers, having just completed a third relief trip from Benghazi and loaded evacuees.
Human Rights Watch, the New York-based organization, whose staff members know the photographers, contacted the vessel and found it was prepared to evacuate the two injured photographers back to Benghazi as well. But the two men were not deemed fit for travel, especially on a voyage that could last 20 or more hours.
The organization made arrangements late at night to move Mr. Hetherington’s and Mr. Hondros’s remains to the vessel for the journey to Benghazi. Consular officials from England and the United States were beginning to organize their repatriation from Libya after the voyage.
The remains of Mr. Hetherington and Mr. Hondros were confirmed to be on board the vessel.
Two other journalists were killed last month in the Libyan conflict, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists: Mohammed al-Nabbous, the founder of the online Libya Alhurra TV, who was shot as he was streaming audio reports of the fighting in Benghazi; and Ali Hassan al-Jaber, a cameraman with Al Jazeera who was shot when his crew was ambushed near Benghazi.
In addition to the four who were killed, 49 journalists have been detained, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The loss of Mr. Hetherington, 41, reverberated in many circles, including among the journalists, aid workers, soldiers and victims of war he had befriended in a distinguished career. A British citizen who lived in New York, he had covered conflicts with sensitivity in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur and, in recent weeks, Libya.
“This is a devastating loss to many of us personally,” said Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. “But it is also a devastating loss to the human rights community. His work has raised the visibility of many of the world’s forgotten conflicts. May the legacy of his exceptional photographs serve to inspire future generations.”
Chris Hondros/Getty Images
A photograph of a rebel fighter in Misurata, Libya, was one of the last images taken by Chris Hondros.
Mr. Hetherington’s family released a brief statement: “Tim was in Libya to continue his ongoing multimedia project to highlight humanitarian issues during time of war and conflict. He will be forever missed.” Mr. Hetherington was between assignments at Vanity Fair when he was killed. He had traveled to Libya on his own to work on a multimedia project while he and his editors tried to figure out what his next series of photos for the magazine would be.Graydon Carter
, Vanity Fair’s editor, said the sudden death of someone who was so well regarded and well liked by his colleagues had left the staff stunned.“We’re just devastated here,” Mr. Carter said. “But he lived for this. And this sort of thing did not faze him. It’s what gave him life, and it’s what took it away from him.”
Mr. Hetherington last contacted his editors on Tuesday. “Am currently in misrata — would have made interesting article with SJ,” he wrote in an e-mail, a reference to his friend and fellow Vanity Fair contributor Sebastian Junger, who was his co-director on “Restrepo.”
The two men had put themselves in harm’s way together on many occasions, chronicling the war in Afghanistan.
Mr. Hetherington’s final Twitter post, sent Tuesday, was eerily prophetic: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”
Mr. Hetherington embedded with American troops on numerous occasions. His work shooting still photography and film was celebrated for how it often captured soldiers’ humanity.
As the vigil ended for Mr. Hondros, his friends expressed pain, grief and respect for him and his body of work, built over a career of two decades. Soon to be married, he had been one of the most familiar names in the business in recent years, covering conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Africa.
“Chris never shied away from the front line, having covered the world’s major conflicts throughout his distinguished career and his work in Libya was no exception,” Getty Images said in a statement. “We are working to support his family and his fiancée as they receive this difficult news, and are preparing to bring Chris back to his family and friends in the United States. He will be sorely missed.”
Tyler Hicks, a photographer for The New York Times who worked alongside Mr. Hondros in several wars, paid a tribute in an e-mail.
“Chris made sacrifices in his own life to bring the hardships of war into the public eye, and that dedication created award-winning photographs that shaped the way people viewed the world,” he wrote. “He was a close friend for nearly 20 years. The tragedy of his death had brought so many memories to the surface, and I’m grateful to be among the many people who were lucky enough to know him. He will be missed.”
Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting from New York.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:Correction: April 21, 2011An earlier version of this story referred incorrectly to Chris Hondros as father of a 3-year old boy.
MADELYN PUGH DAVIS, WRITER FOR ‘I LOVE LUCY’
By DENNIS HEVESI
Published: April 21, 2011
Madelyn Pugh Davis, who with her writing partners for the classic sitcom “I Love Lucy“ concocted zany scenes in which the harebrained Lucy dangles from a hotel balcony, poses as a sculpture or stomps and wrestles in a vat full of grapes, died Wednesday at her home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. She was 90.
Madelyn Pugh Davis with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Her death was confirmed by her son, Michael Quinn Martin.
Clever turns of the phrase were not grist for the comedy mill that Ms. Davis, along with Bob Carroll Jr. and the producer Jess Oppenheimer, began running out of a studio back office in 1951. With Ms. Davis clacking away at the typewriter and her partners pacing around her, the basic premise was to come up with ludicrous physical predicaments for the show’s star, Lucille Ball, to get herself into — to the eternal consternation of her husband, played by her real-life husband, the bandleader Desi Arnaz, who was also one of the show’s producers. Lucy would be plopped in a bucket of cement, scampering about a bull ring, coated by ice after being locked in a meat freezer — all of which she escaped with clownish glee.
In one famous scene, Lucy’s oversized bread loaf swells from the oven and backs her across her kitchen. In another, she guzzles a 46-proof health tonic, Vitameatavegamin, in a commercial, and is soon mumbling and stumbling.
Visual comedy is what the team, joined by Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf 1n 1955, considered their playful work. “We weren’t doing joke jokes or funny word jokes as much as we were setting up physical situations for her,” Ms. Davis said in a 1993 interview for the Archive of American Television. Often it was Ms. Davis who first rode a unicycle or tried out other stunts to see if they would work for Ms. Ball.
“On set, these stunts became known as the ‘Black Stuff,’ since Ms. Davis would type these zany feats in all caps on the script so Lucy would know exactly what she was getting herself into,” according to a profile of Ms. Davis by the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio), which honored her in 2006.
“During the formative years of television, when few women were working behind the screen, Madelyn Pugh Davis wrote one of the most popular shows of all time,” the Paley Center said. She “not only made her mark as a writer, but also opened the door for other women to follow in her footsteps.”
Viewers certainly loved Lucy, and still do. For four of its six seasons, “I Love Lucy” was the most popular show on television; it never ranked lower than third in any of those seasons. It received two Emmy Awards for best situation comedy and two nominations for best comedy writing. The show’s 179 episodes — all of which Ms. Davis and Mr. Carroll were involved in writing — remain rerun regulars.
“It’s still hard for me to grasp it when people tell me, ‘I’ve seen every episode dozens of times,’ “ Ms. Davis said in 1993.
Ms. Davis and Mr. Carroll went on to write for all of Ms. Ball’s later television endeavors: “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour” (1957-60), a series of specials, and the three series she made after she and Mr. Arnaz divorced: “The Lucy Show” (1962-68), “Here’s Lucy” (1968-74) and the short-lived “Life With Lucy” (1986).
Born in Indianapolis on March 15, 1921, Madelyn Pugh was the youngest of three daughters of Isaac and Louise Hupp Pugh. A three-act play she wrote when she was 10 set her career path. At Shortridge High, she wrote for the school newspaper and, with her classmate Kurt Vonnegut, joined the school’s fiction club. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism in 1942.
Her first professional writing job was at the Indianapolis radio station WIRE. She moved to Los Angeles in 1943 and was soon working for CBS. There she met Mr. Carroll, with whom she wrote scripts for “My Favorite Husband,” a radio show about a ditzy wife and her banker husband. It starred Lucille Ball.
By 1951, “My Favorite Husband” had evolved into “I Love Lucy,” chronicling the loony lives of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Their best friends, Ethel and Fred Mertz, were played by Vivian Vance and William Frawley.
Madelyn Pugh married Quinn Martin, one of television’s most successful producers, in 1955; they divorced six years later. Her second husband, Richard Davis, died in 2009. In addition to her son, she is survived by four stepchildren from her second marriage, Brian, Charlotte, Lisa and Ned Davis; nine step-grandchildren; and one step-great-grandson.
Ms. Davis and Mr. Carroll, who died in 2007, wrote together for more than 50 years. Among the other shows they worked on were “The Mothers-in-Law” and “Alice.” They also wrote the story for the 1968 film “Yours, Mine and Ours,” starring Ms. Ball and Henry Fonda. They collaborated on a memoir, “Laughing With Lucy,” in 2005.
In an interview last year for this obituary, Ms. Davis recalled some of the many wacky situations she helped devise for Ms. Ball: standing on stilts, coping with a house overrun by baby chicks, wearing a beard and — a classic — overwhelmed by a warp-speed conveyor belt in a chocolate factory.
“Lucy would do anything we suggested,” Ms. Davis said.
“The only time she ever said she didn’t want to do something was when she saw an elephant on the set and ran up to her office,” Ms. Davis recalled.
The script called for her to retrieve $500 from under the elephant’s foot.
“Then the phone rang and it was Vivian Vance,” Ms. Davis said. “Vivian said, ‘It’s O.K., I told Lucy that if she didn’t want to do that funny thing, I’ll do it.’ And Lucy said, ‘O.K., I’ll do it.’ So she talked into the elephant’s trunk and got it to lift its foot.”
SOL SAKS, WRITER OF ‘BEWITCHED’ PILOT
By MARGALIT FOX
Published: April 21, 2011
Sol Saks, who wrote the first episode of “Bewitched,” the popular sitcom about a suburban housewife skilled in the uses of enchantment, died on Saturday in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 100 and a Sherman Oaks resident.
Sol Saks, comedy writer and creator of “Bewitched.”
His wife, Sandra Wagner, confirmed the death.
Broadcast on ABC from 1964 to 1972, “Bewitched” starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, a comely young witch. (The character was called Cassandra in Mr. Saks’s original script.) Her husband, Darrin, was a sometimes bothered, often bewildered mortal first played by Dick York and later by Dick Sargent.
Mr. Saks’s pilot, “I, Darrin, Take This Witch, Samantha,” marries the couple off only to have Darrin discover on their wedding night that his bride is equipped with magical powers. Darrin is surprised.
Mr. Saks was not formally involved with the show beyond this script: he preferred writing pilots to the grind of a weekly series, his wife said, and his contract called for him to write no further episodes. But he remained associated with the show in public memory to the end of his life.
“Bewitched” inspired a 2005 feature film starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.
Mr. Saks’s other credits include the screenplay for the film comedy “Walk, Don’t Run” (1966), adapted from a story by Robert Russell and Frank Ross. The movie was Cary Grant’s last picture: in it, he plays matchmaker to a young couple (Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton) amid the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Sol Saks was born in New York City on Dec. 13, 1910, and reared in Chicago. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and afterward worked for a small paper in Dunsmuir, Calif.
He began his entertainment career in radio, writing for “Duffy’s Tavern” and other shows. On television, he wrote for “My Favorite Husband,” “I Married Joan” and “Mr. Adams and Eve,” a late-1950s sitcom starring Howard Duff and Ida Lupino.
In the mid-1960s Mr. Saks was an executive producer with CBS in Hollywood, where he oversaw comedy programming.
Mr. Saks’s first wife, the former Anne Chaddock, died in 1972. Besides Ms. Wagner, he is survived by two children from his first marriage, Mary Spivey and Daniel Saks; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
He was the author of “The Craft of Comedy Writing,” published in 1985 by Writer’s Digest Books.
“Bewitched” was sometimes called derivative by critics, who cited big-screen films like “I Married a Witch” (1942) and “Bell Book and Candle” (1958) as influences. Mr. Saks had no trouble conjuring a reply.
“Go back to the Greeks, who had stories of gods coming down to Earth to live with mortals,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2004. “There are stories in other cultures of angels doing the same. The only thing is, before ‘Bewitched,’ this basic tale had not been used as a TV series.”
Thanks so much for giving us ‘Bewitched’. The great memories of Darrin Stevens, played by the late Dick York and the late Dick Sargent; his arch nemesis and mother-n-law Endora, played by the late Agnes Moorehead; Larry Tate, the rear-end kisser, played by the late David White; and most of all—Samantha Stevens, who bewitched everyone both onscreen and off, as played by the late Elizabeth Montgomery.
They are all gone, and now, sadly you have left us.
Thanks for writing for one of the best situation comedies of the 1960s-1970s era.
Rest in peace, Mr Saks.
Rest in peace.