David Milch

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David Milch
David Milch (8226373241).jpg
David Milch at the 64th Annual Peabody Awards
BornDavid Sanford Milch
(1945-03-23) March 23, 1945 (age 73)
Buffalo, New York
OccupationScreenwriter, television producer
Rita Stern (m. 1982)

David Sanford Milch (born March 23, 1945) is an American writer and producer of television series. He has created several television shows, including NYPD Blue (co-created with Steven Bochco) and Deadwood.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Milch graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, where he won the Tinker Prize in English and was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter,[2][3] along with future U.S. president George W. Bush. He earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.[4] To avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, Milch enrolled in Yale Law School but was expelled for shooting out a police car siren with a shotgun. Milch then worked as a writing teacher and lecturer in English literature at Yale. During his teaching career, he assisted Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks in the writing of several college textbooks on literature. Milch's poetry and fiction have been published in The Atlantic Monthly and the Southern Review.[5]

In 1982, Milch wrote a script for Hill Street Blues, which became the episode "Trial by Fury". This began his career in television. He worked five seasons on Hill Street Blues as executive story editor and then as executive producer. Milch earned two Writers Guild Awards, a Humanitas prize, and a Primetime Emmy Award while working on that show.[6]

Milch created NYPD Blue with Steven Bochco and served as executive producer of that series for seven seasons. He received three Primetime Emmy Awards during his time with the series.[7] Milch co-created the patrol police drama Brooklyn South with Bochco, Bill Clark, and William S. Finkelstein in 1997 while still working on NYPD Blue. After NYPD Blue, Milch created a CBS series called Big Apple.[8]

From 2004 to 2006, Milch produced Deadwood, a dramatic series for HBO. Milch served as creator, writer, and executive producer. The series received critical acclaim and garnered Milch two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for writing and producing. The series ended in 2006 after three seasons. There were plans for two feature-length movies to conclude the series, but after many rumors, star Ian McShane said the sets had been struck and the films were highly unlikely to be produced. McShane presented David Milch with the 2006 Outstanding Television Writer Award at the Austin Film Festival.[9]

Milch began production in 2006 on John from Cincinnati, another dramatic series for HBO. The series was canceled after its first season. Initial ratings had been lower than expected but increased steadily. Ratings for the final episode were more than 3 million.[10] In October 2007, HBO renewed its contract with Milch. A pilot was commissioned for Last of the Ninth, "a drama set in the New York Police Department during the 1970s, when the Knapp Commission was formed to ferret out corruption in the force." Collaborating with Milch on Last of the Ninth was former NYPD Blue writer and friend Bill Clark.[11] In December 2008, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Last of the Ninth would not be picked up by the network.[12]

In January 2010, Milch announced that he was developing a new drama for HBO entitled Luck, based around the culture of horse racing. Michael Mann directed the pilot[13] and Dustin Hoffman was cast in the lead role.[14] HBO picked up the series on July 14, 2010.[15] The series ceased production after three horse deaths on set, having aired one season. Milch also confirmed that he had signed on for the film adaptation of Quantic Dream's 2010 video game Heavy Rain. In October 2011, New York magazine reported[16] that Milch, working with NYPD Blue collaborator Steven Bochco, would produce an as yet untitled legal drama for NBC. Set in a high powered Washington, D.C. law firm, the show would center on a lawyer with a dark past named Ted Tapman.

In November 2011, HBO announced[17] that it had entered into a deal with David Milch's Redboard Productions to produce films and television series based on the literary works of William Faulkner, while The Wall Street Journal later reported[18] that Milch has been working on a project for HBO about the fictional Mississippi county Yoknapatawpha County created by Faulkner. In July 2013 HBO announced[19] at the Television Critics Association Press Tour that Milch was developing a new series for the cable network tentatively titled The Money. The show would depict a dynastic New York media family. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson was cast in the lead role as a family patriarch and media mogul.[20] It was announced on March 4, 2014 that HBO had passed on the project.[21]

On April 20, 2017, Ian McShane announced that Milch has submitted a script for a two-hour Deadwood movie to HBO. "[A] two-hour movie script has been delivered to HBO. If they don’t deliver [a finished product], blame them." McShane said that he has spoken to Milch about some of the script and hoped to meet for lunch soon to discuss the film. He also said of the original cast returning that "we’d all love to do it ... It would be nice to see all of the old gang again."[22] The film began production in October 2018.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Milch is Jewish.[24] He has been married to Rita Stern since 1982. They have three children. Milch has lost millions of dollars gambling.[25]

He has stated he has bipolar disorder.[25][26] He developed a heart condition in the 1990s.[25] During the filming of NYPD Blue, he suffered a heart attack while arguing with actor David Caruso over the script.[26]

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

Milch is an owner of thoroughbred racehorses. As a co-owner with Mark and Jack Silverman, he won the 1992 Breeders' Cup Juvenile with the colt Gilded Time. Milch owned outright Val Royal who captured the 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile.

Television credits[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barra, Allen. "The Man Who Made Deadwood". American History Lives at American Heritage. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  2. ^ "Prominent Deke Alumni: Phi's David Milch". Godeke.org. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  3. ^ "Prizes and Deadlines | English". English.yale.edu. Archived from the original on July 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  4. ^ "University of Iowa Alumni Association". Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  5. ^ "UPenn". Retrieved January 25, 2012.
  6. ^ Champlin, Charles (February 25, 1988). "Passing Along His 'Street' Luck". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Weinraub, Bernard. "TELEVISION/RADIO; The Demons That Have Driven 'N.Y.P.D. Blue'". Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Littlejohn, Janice Rhoshalle (March 14, 2001). "Detective Work at 'Big Apple's' Core". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "2006 Winners - Austin Film Festival". Austin Film Festival. April 29, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  10. ^ Nielsen Media News, August 14, 2007.
  11. ^ "The saga of 'Deadwood' takes another turn". Chicago Tribune. October 10, 2007.
  12. ^ "HBO picks up 'Hung'". The Hollywood Reporter (via web archive). Archived from the original on December 19, 2008.
  13. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 5, 2010). "Mann, Milch in 'Luck' with HBO". Variety.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "Dustin Hoffman to star in HBO pilot Luck". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  15. ^ Hibberd, James. "Dustin Hoffman to star in horse racing series". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  16. ^ "Drama Titans Steven Bochco and David Milch Are Reuniting to Save NBC". New York Magazine. October 14, 2011.
  17. ^ "HBO Signs David Milch and His New Partner, William Faulkner". Time Magazine. November 30, 2011.
  18. ^ "William Faulkner's Heirs Aim to Preserve His Legacy and Profit From It". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  19. ^ "'Deadwood' creator near deal for HBO drama pilot". Entertainment Weekly. July 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "HBO Orders New David Milch Pilot, The Money". New York Magazine. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "David Milch's HBO Pilot 'The Money' Not Going Forward". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  22. ^ Gunderman, Dan (April 20, 2017). "Actor Ian McShane says 'Deadwood' creator submitted revival movie script to HBO". Collider. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  23. ^ "'Deadwood' Movie Starts Filming With Majority of Cast Returning". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  24. ^ "David Milch Headlines Most Uncomfortable Panel Discussion Ever at 'New Yorker' Fest". Vulture. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c Singer, Mark (February 14, 2005). "The Misfit". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Dinner for Five. Season 4. Episode 4. April 1, 2005. Independent Film Channel.

Further reading, audio interviews, and videos[edit]

External links[edit]