The man behind some of the most influential shows — and theme songs — of the ’60s and ’70s, Sherwood Schwartz, died this morning, his son Lloyd Schwartz and nephew Douglas Schwartz confirm to EW.
Schwartz, who created both The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, was 94 and died at 4 a.m. of natural causes surrounded by family and loved ones, his son and business partner since 1972, said. “I learned so much from him. I produced all around. I’ve worked as a network executive, and no one came close to being as good as he was in every single way. And I’m not the only one saying that. If you ask any other producers who was best, they’ll say Sherwood Schwartz,” Lloyd Schwartz tells EW.
At the time of his death, Sherwood Schwartz was working with his son on the Gilligan’s Island movie for Warner Bros., which Lloyd Schwartz said will go on as planned. “We’ve been getting the script in and we’re turning it over soon. That will be another legacy of his,” he said. “He’s just going to go on. Some of my job is to make sure things are as he’d liked them to be — and they will be.”
Sherwood Schwartz’s career started in radio as a writer for Bob Hope’s show and he also worked for Armed Forces radio during WWII, his son said. But it was the desire to create feel-good television that eventually led to the creation of The Brady Bunch (1969-74) and Gilligan’s Island (1964-67). He also had a hand in the creations of the the satirical Brady movies and TV movies from both franchises. “I think television would be a lot better off if they did TV shows like he did. Believe it or not, he viewed Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch as the same show. They were about people trying to learn to get along,” Lloyd Schwartz says. “He felt like the lasting influence was that people felt better watching them.”
Sherwood Schwartz’s influence was even felt years after his most memorable shows were off the air. Douglas Schwartz credits his uncle and “second father” for the creation of his hit show Baywatch. “He was my mentor my entire life. If it wasn’t for my uncle Sherwood, I wouldn’t have had the career that I’ve had creating television series and producing television. That was all because of him. Baywatch wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for my uncle Sherwood,” he said. “He had a tremendous mark on television and people’s lives for, truly, generations.”