Saturday, January 25

Influential UCLA professor and producer William Froug dies at 91

Emmy-winning writer-producer William Froug, 91, of Sarasota, Fla., died Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013 after a long, successful and, what he deemed, very lucky life. Courtesy of Lisa Froug-Hirano

William Froug, an Emmy award-winning writer-producer and a professor emeritus who reshaped the screenwriting program at UCLA, died Aug. 25 of natural causes. He was 91.

Froug’s family and close friends knew him as a humorous man with a booming personality who had a passion for writing and teaching at UCLA.

He was proud to work at UCLA, his daughter Lisa Froug-Hirano said. He was usually seen wearing a UCLA baseball cap.

“He wanted to be identified as a UCLA professor first,” Froug-Hirano said. “UCLA was his school and it was the highlight of his life aside from having kids.”

From 1971 to 1987, Froug taught advanced screenwriting courses at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Froug-Hirano said.

Robert Rosen, a professor at the School of Theater, Film and Television said Froug played a major role in improving the screenwriting program at UCLA.

Froug built up the writing program at UCLA and helped people view television as a serious area of study, Rosen said. He recruited an experienced writing faculty who shaped the program into one of the best in the nation.

He launched his career in Hollywood after serving in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific.

Froug is best known for his production of the television series “The Twilight Zone” and “Gilligan’s Island” in the 1960s.

In the mid-1970s Froug was instrumental in creating an honor society for writers and producers, said Jonathan Froug, Froug’s son.

Froug was one of the founders of “The Caucus for Producers, Writers, and Directors,” an elite society that requires credentials from its members.

Jonathan Froug said he thinks writers did not always receive credit during his father’s time and were viewed as expendable.

“My dad created an alliance of television creators where everyone stood together. He fought to elevate the quality and diversity of television,” Jonathan Froug said.

Froug is also remembered for his comedic personality.

Richard “Doc” Glidewell, a friend of Froug’s for the past 15 years and a retired professor from Massachusetts, said he first met Froug through the Liars’ Club – an informal gathering of writers first started in Florida in the 1950s.

Froug would play and joke around with the other players at the Liars’ Club’s poker games, Glidewell said.

He also produced a radio show called “Brave New World.” The show was hosted by Aldous Huxley, said Gloria Henry, a close friend of Froug’s for the last 60 years and the lead actress in the show.

The popular 20th century radio show – which Froug adapted, produced and directed – is about a futuristic society.

While some may remember him for his work in television, radio and film, his children will remember him as a witty man and loving father.

“For me, as his daughter, my fondest and most endearing memory of Dad will always be his brilliant sense of humor, quick wit and vitality,” Froug-Hirano said. “That he was making quips and joking in his final hours says it all. He will be sorely missed by everyone.”

Froug is survived by his four children – Suzy Allegra, Nancy Earth, Lisa Froug-Hirano and Jonathan Froug – as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. At the time of his death, Froug was married to Christine Michaels of Sarasota, Fla.

To honor Froug’s wishes, a memorial will not be held. Froug will be cremated and scattered in the Pacific Ocean with the U.S. Navy’s burial at sea program in respect of his time spent as a captain of a subchaser during World War II.

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