William Spier

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William Spier
William Spier 1949.jpg
Spier in 1949
Born William Hannan Spier
October 16, 1906
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died May 30, 1973(1973-05-30) (aged 66)
Weston, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Writer, producer, director
Spouse(s) Mary Scanlan (1929–1939); 3 children
Kay Thompson (m. 1942-1947; divorced)
June Havoc (m. 1948-1973; his death)
Children Peter Spier
Greta Spier
Margaret Spier

William Hannan Spier (October 16, 1906 – May 30, 1973)[1] was an American writer, producer, and director for television and radio. He is best known for his radio work, notably Suspense and The Adventures of Sam Spade.

Born in New York City to a Jewish father and a Presbyterian mother, Spier began his career on the editorial staff of Musical America magazine, eventually becoming its chief critic. He was married to Mary Scanlan, with whom he had three children: Peter (deceased), Greta, and Margaret. He was later married to Kay Thompson from 1942–47, and to June Havoc from 1948 until his death in 1973.[2]


His radio career began in 1929, when he produced and directed The Atwater Kent Hour, an hour-long Sunday night presentation of Metropolitan Opera artists.

Spier was chief of the writers' department and director of development at CBS in 1940, when he was co-producer of Suspense and Duffy's Tavern. In 1947, he won a Mystery Writers of America award for The Adventures of Sam Spade. A 1949 magazine article said Spier "is generally rated radio's top-notch creator of suspense-type dramas."[3]


In 1952, Spier introduced TV's first 90-minute show, Omnibus, for CBS. In 1953, he produced Willy for his third wife, actress June Havoc under the auspices of Desilu, on CBS.[4] His knowledge of music was encyclopedic, and he was a skillful pianist with a deep love for Chopin. In early 1947, he and Havoc met when she was a guest star on one of his radio shows. They were married from 1947 until his death. He produced Medallion Theatre on NBC in 1953-54.[5]


Spier died, aged 66, at the home he shared with Havoc in Weston, Connecticut.[2]


Spier won numerous awards, including the Writers Guild of America for best script of the year in 1962 for his two-part script for TV's The Untouchables. He was the recipient of three Peabody Awards[6].[citation needed]


  1. ^ Biodata, ancestry.com; accessed September 29, 2015.(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b William Spier at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "William Spier". Radio and Television Mirror. 32 (3): 19. August 1949. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ Spier profile, nytimes.com; accessed July 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Man behind Medallion Theatre" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror. 40 (6): 16. November 1953. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ "William Spier". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 

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