Jump to content

Larry DiTillio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Larry DiTillio
Lawrence G. DiTillio

(1948-02-15)February 15, 1948
DiedMarch 16, 2019(2019-03-16) (aged 71)
OccupationTelevision writer
Years active1970–2009

Lawrence G. DiTillio (February 15, 1948 – March 16, 2019) was an American film, TV series, and tabletop role-playing game writer. His creations include He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword and the award-winning Masks of Nyarlathotep.


Larry DiTillio attended the film school at New York University for four years. He then spent an additional two years at UCLA's film school.[1]


After graduating, DiTillio decided to make a career as a Hollywood writer. He knocked on agency doors until he was able to find an agent willing and able to find him work as a film writer.[1] DiTillio wrote for both television and movies in the 1970s, including a stint on Filmation's Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. He then became a staff writer for the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series and over its two seasons, wrote 17 episodes, more than anyone else. He also directed one episode.

During a writers' strike in 1983, DiTillio searched for other ways to generate income through writing, so he was hired by Flying Buffalo.[2]: 37  DiTillio wrote The Isle of Darksmoke (1984), the final multiplayer Tunnels & Trolls adventure that Flying Buffalo published.[2]: 38  DiTillio also collaborated with Lynn Willis to create the world-spanning campaign Masks of Nyarlathotep (1984) for Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu, which author Shannon Appelcine states is considered one of the best roleplaying adventures of all time,[2]: 86  and won an Origins Award.[3] For a few months, DiTillio was also a contributor to Chaosium's Different Worlds magazine, writing about news from the world of film and television in his "The Sword of Hollywood" column.[4] Other Chaosium titles he wrote or contributed to, include; The Grey Knight, the first adventure for the Pendragon role-playing game, Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion for the Stormbringer fantasy role-playing game, and the Call of Cthulhu supplement Terror Australis.[5]

Despite his success in the role-playing games industry, once the screenwriters' strike ended, DiTillio went back to screenwriting.[6]

In 1985, he wrote the feature-length film He-Man and She-Ra: Secret of the Sword. Following its release, he and J. Michael Straczynski became writers for Filmation's spin-off show She-Ra: Princess of Power.[1] DiTillio created the show bible for the spinoff show and invented most of the character names.[7][page needed] Straczynski later recalled the considerable time DiTillio spent writing character background for the show. "One of the things Larry and I decided, very early on, was that She-Ra couldn't just be 'He-Man with boobs.' The show had to go deeper than that, especially given that we were creating this for a female lead character."[1] However, when Filmation refused to give them credit on-screen, both left, finding work with DIC Entertainment on Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors.

In 1993, DiTillio worked with Straczynski again, this time on the science-fiction series Babylon 5, with Straczynski as producer and DiTillio the executive story editor.[6][2]: 41  DiTillio also worked on the animated series Beast Wars, writing or co-writing most of the episodes.[2]: 41  In 2002, he was a writer for the updated He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series.

DiTillio died at the age of 71 on March 16, 2019.[1]


Year Role Show
1972 Writer Those Mad, Mad Moviemakers
1984 Writer Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
1985 Writer He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword
1985 Writer Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors (7 episodes)
1983–85 Writer He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (17 episodes)
1985 Writer She-Ra: Princess of Power (18 episodes)
1985–86 Writer Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling
1986 Writer The Centurions
1986 Writer Galaxy High
1987 Writer Bionic Six
1987-88 Writer Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
1988 Writer Superman (2 episodes)
1989 Writer The California Raisin Show (5 episodes)
1989 Writer Captain Power: The Beginning (TV Movie)
1987 Writer The Real Ghostbusters
1990 Writer Swamp Thing
1990 Writer Deadly Nightmares
1990 Writer Peter Pan & the Pirates
1991 Writer The Hidden Room (TV series)
1991 Writer Murder, She Wrote (1 Episode)
1992 Writer Conan the Adventurer
1994–95 Writer/Executive Story Editor Babylon 5
1996 Writer Hypernauts
1996–99 Writer/Story Editor Beast Wars: Transformers
2002–04 Writer He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
2005 Writer Kong: The Animated Series
2009 Writer Transformers: Animated


  1. ^ a b c d e Weiss, Josh (2019-03-17). "Larry DiTillio, co-creator of She-Ra and well-known genre TV writer has passed away". SyFy Wire. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  2. ^ a b c d e Appelcline, Shannon (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  3. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1996)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21.
  4. ^ "Larry DiTiilio Passed Away". Dungeon Master Magazine. 2019-03-17. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  5. ^ Mason, Mike (2019-03-17). "Larry DiTillio, Visionary Game Designer and Writer, 1940-2019". Chaosium. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  6. ^ a b Faragher, Steve (March 1997). "The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep". Arcane. No. 17. Future Publishing. pp. 56–57.
  7. ^ Scheimer, Lou (2012). Creating the Filmation Generation. Two Morrows Publishing. ISBN 978-1605490441.

External links[edit]