Jon Epstein, a prolific producer whose career reads like a history of television in Hollywood, has died. He was 62.
Ron Wise, a spokesman for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Sunday that Epstein died Saturday at the hospital from complications of lymphoma.
The producer of such detective thrillers as the "McMillan and Wife" series and the epic "Rich Man, Poor Man" miniseries, Epstein started in broadcasting as an office boy.
At age 19, he was mimeographing scripts for the Ziv Corp. in New York; two years later, he was directing radio soap operas for that firm.
After service during the Korean War, Epstein came to Hollywood, where he worked for Ziv's TV division before beginning a long relationship with Universal. His early credits included "The Flying Nun," "Rat Patrol" and "Kraft Suspense Theatre."
From 1968 through 1970, Epstein produced numerous series and movies-of-the-week for ABC, including "The Outcasts," "The Young Rebels," "Three's a Crowd" and "The Sheriff."
Next were the series "Owen Marshall, Counselor-at-Law," which ran on ABC from 1971 through 1973; "Portrait: Legend in Granite" for ABC in 1972, and the pilots for "Tenafly" and "Partners in Crime" in 1973 for NBC.
During the mid-'70s, Epstein produced "McMillan and Wife" for NBC; the highly acclaimed "Rich Man, Poor Man" for ABC, and the two-hour special "Class of '65" for NBC.
Assuming the role of executive producer, Epstein was responsible for shows like "Switch" (CBS, 1978-79); "The Contender" (CBS, 1981-82); "Advice to the Lovelorn" (NBC, 1983); "The Whorehouse Sting" (CBS, 1984); "Scene of the Crime" (NBC, 1985); "Deadly Care" (CBS, 1987); "I Saw What You Did" (CBS, 1987); "Trapped" (USA Network, 1989), and "High Desert Kill" (USA Network, 1989).
At the time of his death, Epstein was the executive producer of "Colombo" for Universal and "This Gun for Hire" for USA Network.
Survivors include a brother.