David L. Wolper

David Lloyd Wolper (January 11, 1928 August 10, 2010) was an American television and film producer, responsible for shows such as Roots, The Thorn Birds, North & South, L.A. Confidential, and the blockbuster Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). He also produced numerous documentaries and documentary series including Biography (1961–63), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (TV), Appointment with Destiny (TV series), This is Elvis, Four Days in November, Imagine: John Lennon, Visions of Eight (1973), and others. Wolper directed the 1959 documentary The Race for Space, which was nominated for an Academy Award. His 1971 film (as executive producer) about the study of insects, The Hellstrom Chronicle, won an Academy Award.

David L. Wolper
David Lloyd Wolper

(1928-01-11)January 11, 1928
DiedAugust 10, 2010(2010-08-10) (aged 82)
Occupationtelevision and film producer
Spouse(s)Toni Carroll (1953–1955; divorced)
Margaret Dawn Richard (1958–1969; divorced; 3 children)
Gloria Diane Hill (1974–2010; his death)

Life and career

Wolper was born in New York City, the son of Anna (née Fass) and Irving S. Wolper.[1] For his work on television, he had received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The pre-1968 library is owned by Cube Entertainment (formerly International Creative Exchange), while the post-1970 library (along with Wolper's production company, Wolper Productions, now known as The Wolper Organization) is owned by Warner Bros.

On March 13, 1974, one of his crews filming a National Geographic history of Australopithecus at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area was killed when their Sierra Pacific Airlines Corvair 440 slammed into the White Mountains shortly after takeoff from Eastern Sierra Regional Airport in Bishop, California, killing all 35 on board, including 31 Wolper crew members. The filmed segment was recovered in the wreckage and was broadcast in the television series Primal Man. The cause of the crash remains unsolved.[2]

In 1988, Wolper was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[3]

Wolper died on August 10, 2010, of congestive heart disease and complications of Parkinson's disease at his Beverly Hills home.[4]


His company was involved in the following productions. He was a distributor of the early shows, and became an executive producer with The Race for Space in 1958.[5]

Year Show
1949Funny Bunnies (36 episodes)
1953Superman (90 episodes)
1954Baseball Hall of Fame (75 episodes)
1954O.S.S. (32 episodes)
1954Grand Ole Opry (39 episodes)
1955Congressional Investigator (26 episodes)
1958Men from Boys - The First Eight Weeks
1958The Race for Space
1959Project: Man in Space
1960Hollywood: The Golden Years
1961Biography of a Rookie: The Willie Davis Story
1961The Rafer Johnson Story
1962Hollywood: The Great Stars
1962Hollywood: The Fabulous Era
1962D-Day June 6, 1944
1962–1963Story of...
1963Hollywood and the Stars
1963Escape to Freedom
1963Kreboizen and Cancer: Thirteen Years of Bitter Conflict
1963The Passing Years: Rework of Story of a Year 1927
1963The Making of the President, 1960
1963–1964Specials for United Artists
1964The Legend of Marilyn Monroe
1964The Quest for Peace
1964A Thousand Days: A Tribute to John Fitzgerald Kennedy
1964Men in Crisis
1965Four Days in November
1965France: Conquest to Liberation
1965Korea: The 38th Parallel
1965Prelude to War (Beginning of World War II)
1965Japan: A New Dawn over Asia (Japan in the 20th Century)
1965007: The Incredible World of James Bond
1965Let My People Go: The Story of Israel
1965October Madness: The World Series
1965Race for the Moon
1965Miss Television U.S.A.
1965The Really Big Family: The Duke of Seattle & Their 18 Children
1965Revolution in Our Time
1965The Bold Men
1965The General
1965The Teenage Revolution
1965The Way Out Men
1965In Search of Man
1965Pro Football: Mayhem On A Sunday Afternoon
1965Revolution in the 3 R's
1965The Thin Blue Line
1965In Search of Man
1965Silent Partners
1965–1966The March of Time
1965–1975National Geographic Society Specials
1966The Making of the President, 1964
1966Wall Street Where the Money Is
1966A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House
1966Destination Safety
1966China: Roots of Madness
1966–1968The World of Animals
1967The Big Land
1967A Nation of Immigrants
1967Untamed World
1967A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Hollywood
1967Movin' with Nancy
1967–1968Do Blondes Have More Fun?
1967–1968The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau
1968Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
1968The Dangerous Years
1968With Love, Sophia
1968Monte Carlo: C'est La Rose
1968Sophia: A Self Portrait
1968The Highlights of the Ice Capades 1968
1968On the Trail of Stanley and Livingstone
1968Hollywood: The Selznick Years
1968The Devil's Brigade
1968The Making of the President, 1968
1969The Bridge at Remagen
1969If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
1969Los Angeles: Where It's At
1970The Unfinished Journey of Robert F. Kennedy
1970I Love My Wife
1970–1972The Plimpton Specials
1971Say Goodbye
1971They've Killed President Lincoln
1971The Hellstrom Chronicle
1971Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
1971–1973Appointment With Destiny
1972King, Queen, Knave
1972One Is a Lonely Number
1972Here Comes Tomorrow: The Fear Fighters
1972Republican Party Films
1972Make Mine Red, White and Blue
1972Top of The Month (3 half-hour specials)
1972Of Thee I Sing
1972–1973The Explorers
1973The 500 Pound Jerk
1973Visions of Eight
1973–1974Primal Man Specials
1973–1975The American Heritage Specials
1974This Week In The NBA (Series of 20 half-hours)
1974NBA Game of the Week Featurettes
1974Get Christie Love!
1974Judgment Specials
1974The Morning After
1974Unwed Father
1974Men of the Dragon
1974The First Woman President
1974Love from A to Z
1974Birds Do It, Bees Do It
1974The Animal Within
1974Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
1974–1975Get Christie Love!
1974–1975Smithsonian Specials
1974–1975Sandburg's Lincoln
1974–1976Chico and the Man
1975Death Stalk
1975I Will Fight No More Forever
1975–1976Welcome Back, Kotter
1976Brenda Starr
1976Collision Course
1976Celebration: The American Spirit
1976The Unexplained
1976Victory At Entebbe
1976Mysteries of the Great Pyramids
1978Roots: One Year Later
1978Roots: The Next Generations
1980The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
1981This Is Elvis
1981Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter
1981Small World
1981Murder Is Easy
1982The Mystic Warrior
1983The Thorn Birds
1984XXIIIrd Olympiad, Los Angeles 1984
1984His Mistress
1985North and South
1986North and South: Book II
1986Liberty Weekend
1987The Betty Ford Story
1987Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story
1988What Price Victory
1988Imagine: John Lennon
1988Roots: The Gift
1989The Plot to Kill Hitler
1989Murder in Mississippi
1990Warner Bros. Celebration of Tradition, June 2, 1990
1990When You Remember Me
1991Best of the Worst
1991Bed of Lies
1992Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald
1993Celebration of a Life: Steven J. Ross Chairman of Time Warner
1993The Flood: Who Will Save Our Children?
1994Heaven and Hell: North and South Book III
1994On Trial
1994Golf - The Greatest Game
1994Heroes of the Game
1994Without Warning
1994Murder in the First
1995Prince for a Day
1996The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years
1996Surviving Picasso
1997L.A. Confidential
1998Terror at the Mall
1998Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary Show
1998A Will of Their Own
1998Legends, Icons and Superstars
1999To Serve and Protect
1999Celebrate the Century

See also


  1. "David L. Wolper Biography (1928-)". www.filmreference.com.
  2. "'Primal Man' Crash". Check-six.com. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  3. "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List".
  4. "David Wolper, producer of 'Roots,' has died". Associated Press. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  5. "Filmography". David L. Wolper. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
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