Manny P. here…
Frank Pierson was a successful screenwriter and director. His work on television and film was memorable. Because his father was a noted writer, his family and their lives were the subject of the 1945 film Roughly Speaking, starring Rosalind Russell and Jack Carson as his parents.
He began his career on the small screen as a script editor for Have Gun Will Travel. His teleplays included episodes on the Naked City, Route 66, and most recently, Mad Men and The Good Wife; and he also directed a number of those programs, as well as, The Bold Ones: The New Doctors.
Pierson was honored for his work on screen. Audiences remember the scene he wrote in Cool Hand Luke, when the warden tells the Paul Newman character: What we have here is failure to communicate! He was also the screenwriter on Cat Ballou, The Happening, The Anderson Tapes, and his award-winning work for Dog Day Afternoon (Attica…Attica). His only Oscar statuette followed. He contributed scripted scenes, and directed A Star is Born (1976).
In two stints in the 1980s and 1990s, Pierson was elected president of the Writers Guild of America (WGA); and he served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) from 2001-2005. In 1970, he directed The 42nd Annual Academy Awards.
Frank Pierson was 87.
Alas, two television icons are part of today’s passing parade:
~ Sherman Hemsley played George in All in the Family and The Jeffersons. In collaboration with producer Norman Lear, Hemsley created the longest running African American character in television history. Sherman had a key role as a spirited reverend in Amen. He also guest starred in The Incredible Hulk, E/R, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; and on the big screen in Love at First Bite.
~ Chad Everett was twice a Golden Globe nominee for portraying Joe Gannon in Medical Center. Most of his career, he appeared on television shows, such as Route 66, The Red Skelton Show, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Melrose Place, Diagnosis: Murder, Caroline in the City, Touched by an Angel, The Nanny, and Murder, She Wrote. Chad also had cinematic moments in The Singing Nun and Airplane II: The Sequel.
Sherman Hemsley was 74… Chad Everett was 75.
Until next time> “never forget”