August 12, 1917|
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Died||September 24, 2008
Los Angeles, California, United States
Oliver Crawford (August 12, 1917 – September 24, 2008) was an American screenwriter and author who overcame the Hollywood blacklist during the McCarthy Era of the 1950s to become one of the entertainment industry's most successful television writers. The list of shows for which he wrote for includes Star Trek, Bonanza, Quincy, M.E., Perry Mason and the Kraft Television Theatre.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Crawford attended the Chicago Art Institute and the Goodman Theatre school. His classmates at Goodman included Sam Wanamaker and Karl Malden, both of whom became his lifelong friends.
Crawford began working in the television industry as a writer in the early 1950s. By 1953, he had contracted to work with both Harold Hecht and Burt Lancaster. Shortly after he signed his contract to work with Lancaster, Crawford was summoned in 1953 to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was investigating suspected Communist sympathizers in Hollywood. Crawford refused to name suspected Communists sympathizers within the entertainment industry. His refusal to implicate anyone in Hollywood led to his blacklisting. He was also fired from his 1953 contract. He moved to New York City with his family after being blacklisted where he was forced to take several jobs to make ends meet, including designing window displays.
Crawford was finally able to return to television in 1957 when a friend, actor Sam Levene, got him a job as a writer for Playhouse 90. His career took off during the 1960s, when he wrote for many shows including Gilligan's Island, The Fugitive, The Outer Limits, The Rifleman, The Big Valley, Rawhide, Ben Casey, Lawman and I Spy. His credits during the 1970s included Love, American Style, The Bionic Woman, Kojak, Mannix, Ironside, and numerous other television shows.
Crawford authored a 1978 novel, The Execution, which explored survivors of a Nazi concentration camp. who recognized a former Nazi doctor who had experimented on them and seek revenge. The novel was adapted into a 1985 television movie of the week, which starred Sandy Dennis, Loretta Swit, Rip Torn, Valerie Harper, Jessica Walter and Barbara Barrie.
Crawford served on the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America for 26 years following the restoration of his screenwriting career. His position in the Writers Guild allowed him to advocate for financial restitution for victims of the Hollywood blacklist. Crawford also worked to successfully remove an anti-Communist loyalty oath from Writers Guild's membership application, which was a holdover from the Hollywood blacklist era.
For his work, Crawford received a Writers Guild award nomination for The Outer Limits. He was also a multiple Emmy Award nominated television writer, including for Lineup and Climax!. Crawford also lectured as an associate professor of filmmaking at Loyola Marymount University.
On September 24, 2008, Crawford died from complications from pneumonia in Los Angeles at the age of 91. He is survived by two daughters, Jo Kaufman and Vicki Crawford, one brother, and one sister. His wife, Bert (nėe Pikus) died in 1986. His son, Kenneth Kaufman died in March, 2015.
|1953||The Man from the Alamo||Story|
|1954||The Steel Cage||Segment: "The Hostages"|
|1958||Girl in the Woods||Story and screenplay|
|1985||The Execution||Television movie (screenplay)|
|1951||The Stu Erwin Show||1 episode|
|1952||Boston Blackie||1 episode|
|1953||Terry and the Pirates||5 episodes|
|1955–1957||Kraft Television Theatre||2 episodes|
|1957||Lux Video Theatre||1 episode|
|1958||The Restless Gun||1 episode|
|U.S. Marshal||1 episode|
|1959||Armchair Theatre||1 episode|
|The Third Man||1 episode|
|Man with a Camera||1 episode|
|1961||The Aquanauts||1 episode|
|1962||Perry Mason||1 episode|
|The Rifleman||1 episode|
|1962–1965||Ben Casey||5 episodes|
|1963–1967||The Fugitive||3 episodes|
|1964||The Outer Limits||1 episode|
|1965||Gilligan's Island||1 episode|
|The Big Valley||1 episode|
|1965||The Long Hot Summer||2 episodes|
|1965–1969||The Wild Wild West||2 episodes|
|Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea||1 episode|
|1966–1967||The Iron Horse||2 episodes|
|1967||I Spy||1 episode|
|1967–1969||Star Trek||2 episodes|
|1968||Here Come the Brides||1 episode|
|1969||Land of the Giants||1 episode|
|1969–1970||Medical Center||3 episodes|
|1970||Love, American Style||1 episode|
|1976||The Swiss Family Robinson||2 episodes|
|The Blue Knight||1 episode|
|The Bionic Woman||3 episodes|
|1983||Writers Guild of America Award||Won||Morgan Cox Award||
|1997||Shared with Katherine Coker, Philip D. Fehrle, D.C. Fontana, Michael A. Hoey, Rick Mittleman, and John Riley|
- "Blacklisted TV writer Oliver Crawford dies". Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "Writer Oliver Crawford dies at 91". Variety. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- "Oliver Crawford: Hollywood writer". The Times. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- "Writer Oliver Crawford, 91; Was Blacklisted in Red Scare". washingtonpost.com. 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2008-11-10.