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Obituaries

William D'Angelo, 70; Producer of 'Love, American Style,' 'Alice'

June 22, 2002|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

William P. D'Angelo, producer of such television series hits as "Love, American Style," "Room 222" and "Alice," who also created innovative children's shows, including "Run, Joe, Run," has died. He was 70.

D'Angelo died June 8 in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer.

Raised in New York City, D'Angelo graduated from Fordham University with little idea about what to do with his life. The Army drafted him and assigned him to a film unit as a cameraman.

After being discharged, D'Angelo worked briefly as an NBC page and gofer, then moved to Los Angeles, where he was hired at Warner Bros. as a story analyst. He worked his way up to writing and producing and by 1966 was helping produce the television series "Batman."

Within three years, he was producing episodes of "Room 222," "Love, American Style" and "The Young Lawyers." In the 1970s, he went on to produce the series "Barefoot in the Park," "Alice," "Big John, Little John" and "Turnabout" and the special "The Nativity." Along the way, he worked for every major studio and helped produce episodes of such favorites as "Maverick," "Cheyenne," "Lawman" and "Hawaiian Eye."

But D'Angelo wanted to start his own production company, and it was children's television that gave him the chance in the mid-1970s. The invitation came from Joe Teritero, then head of children's programs for NBC, who wanted to add live-action shows to the standard Saturday morning cartoons.

Working with a tight budget, D'Angelo first delivered "Run, Joe, Run." The show was something of a canine "Fugitive" starring his own German shepherd, Heinrich, as the K-9 corps veteran of the Vietnam War named Joe fleeing the former trainer he thinks is trying to kill him.

D'Angelo followed "Run, Joe, Run" with another children's series, "Westwind." The show, which was filmed in Hawaii, was about an underwater photographer who lived on a boat with his marine biologist wife and their two teenage children.

Building on such successes, D'Angelo wrote and produced a show about his own background for "NBC Special Treat," an afternoon dramatic series for young people. Aired in 1976, "Papa and Me" centered on events surrounding the death of D'Angelo's grandfather, a Brooklyn barber who loved getting his grandson in trouble.

Under what became D'Angelo-Bullock-Allen Productions, the producer also created the children's series "The Monster Squad."

D'Angelo is survived by his wife, Joan; son, William; daughter, Christine; and a sister, Mary Rose.

A memorial service is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Writers Guild of America, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills.

The family has requested that donations be sent to the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, the Factor Building, Room 8-950, Box 95170, Los Angeles, CA 90095, and designated for pancreatic cancer research.

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