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David L. Wolper

David L. Wolper


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Also Known As: David Lloyd Wolper Died: August 10, 2010
Born: January 11, 1928 Cause of Death: Heart disease, Parkinson's disease
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Producer ... producer executive


An incredibly prolific producer and executive producer of mainly small screen fare, David L. Wolper created the standard for television documentaries in the 1960s, produced popular sitcoms in the 1970s, and went on to secure his place in history as the ground-breaking producer of "Roots" (ABC, 1977) and "The Thorn Birds" (ABC, 1983), the two most watched miniseries of all time. Once dubbed "Mr. Documentary" by Time magazine, Wolper established himself as a successful business executive before moving over to the creative side with acclaimed documentaries like "The Making of the President" (ABC, 1960) and the National Geographic specials. Having found some success in features with "The Devil's Brigade" (1968) and "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971), he introduced the world to Freddie Prinze and John Travolta through "Chico and the Man" (NBC, 1974-78) and "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79) respectively. Wolper next made television history with the adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots," which ran for eight consecutive nights in early 1977 and became the most acclaimed miniseries ever made, a success he rivaled in the next decade with "The Thorn Birds." Meanwhile, his lavish production for the Opening Ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles set a trend for all others to follow. Though the high-energy produced took several steps back in his later years, emerging only to produce films like "Murder in the First" (1995) and "L.A. Confidential" (1997), there was no doubt that Wolper remained an unparalleled television icon.

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