The novelist indigenous the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia also was the man behind an additional long-running CBS show, "Falcon Crest."


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Earl Hamner Jr., the homespun novelist from the woodland of Virginia who attracted upon his upbringing to produce the lovely CBS household drama The Waltons, passed away Thursday. He to be 92.

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Hamner, who additionally created a spicier show about another household for CBS — the long-running primetime soap opera Falcon Crest — and wrote eight episodes of rod Serling’s fabled anthology series The Twilight Zone, passed away of cancer in ~ Cedars-Sinai Medical facility in Los Angeles, according to a write-up written by among his kids on his on facebook page.

“I am really sorry to be the bearer that sad news. My father, Earl Hamner, pass away now at 12:20 pm Pacific time. Dad died peacefully in his sleep at Cedar Sinai Hospital. He was surrounded by family, and also we were play his favourite music, john Denver’s Rocky mountain Collection. Dad took his last breath half way v Rocky hill High. I am sure countless of you understand Dad to be ill, however his remarkable tenacity and fight masked how seriously ok he has actually been end the critical year and also a half,” the article reads.


Hamner authored numerous novels, including 1961’s Spencer’s Mountain, which was motivated by his childhood spent in the Blue Ridge mountains and adapted for the 1963 Warner Bros. Film that starred Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara and James MacArthur.

Very much the southerly gentleman, Hamner additionally was selected by E.B. White to compose the manuscript for the 1973 animated film Charlotte’s Web, and also he walk the teleplay because that the Swiss children’s classic Heidi, the 1968 NBC movie the famously come on and denied exasperated sports fans the final moments of an interesting pro football game between the Oakland Raiders and new York Jets.

“It to be the first time i felt in competition v a soccer team, and I won,” Hamner claimed with a chuckle during a 2003 interview through the save of American Television.

Hamner to be born top top July 10, 1923, in Schuyler, Va., the oldest of eight children (five boys, 3 girls, every red-headed).

His father, Earl Sr., worked as a machinist at the DuPont manufacturing facility in Waynesboro, Va., and also lived in a boarding house prior to heading earlier to the family in Schuyler on weekends. That walked 6 miles residence at the finish of each week, and also one together trek, top top a snowy Christmas eve in 1933, ended up being the catalyst for Hamner’s beautiful 1970 novella, The Homecoming.


Lorimar to buy the legal rights to the book and also made it right into a 1971 Christmas one-of-a-kind that starred Richard Thomas and also Patricia Neal (modeled after Hamner and also his mother) and effectively served as the pilot for The Waltons.

The series, i m sorry took ar in the fictional rural Virginia town of Walton’s Mountain and also spanned the years from the great Depression to people War II, ran because that nine periods from September 1972 through June 1981. The starred Ralph Waite and also Michael Learned as the parental of 7 kids, v John-Boy (Richard Thomas) the oldest. (“He do a better John-Boy 보다 I walk of being me,” Hamner frequently said.)

In Hamner’s house, the children said goodnight to one another from their respective rooms, as with on the show. And each of The Waltons illustration opened and closed with narration by Hamner together John, currently older and looking back.

“I came to be the narrator in one odd way,” the recalled in a 2000 interview with Filmfax magazine. “When us were creating The Homecoming, us auditioned just around every professional narrator in town. Finally, Fielder Cook, the director, said, ‘We require somebody who sounds as homespun together Earl.’ that thrust a microphone in prior of mine face and told me to read the copy. It to be a specifically moving segment around my feelings for my family, and also I felt very deeply around what ns was reading. When I looked over at Fielder, I can see the he to be moved and that I had the job!”

The Waltons, which make it come No. 2 in the Nielsen ratings in its second season, received 39 Emmy nominations and won 13 trophies, including one for best drama series in 1973, and also spawned numerous telefilms after ~ CBS canceled it.

Three month after The Waltons left the air, Hamner’s Falcon Crest, one more show native Lorimar, premiered. Certification Jane Wyman together the corruption owner of a California winery, the aired best after Dallas, an additional soap around a wealthy family, and also gave CBS a potent 1-2 punch in the ratings.

Falcon Crest might seem a startling change of pace from The Waltons, but in plenty of ways the Gioberti family members of Falcon Crest were the Waltons of today,” he said in the Filmfax interview. “The matriarch of the household was proud of her family, and, if she frequently was underhanded in doing so, she did whatever she can to nurture the rituals, background and personalizeds of her family. She was proud of she land, valued the continually of that and, i suspect, would have actually gone to any kind of lengths to defend it.”

Falcon Crest also lasted nine seasons, indigenous 1981 through might 1990, but Hamner quit after season five, unhappy v the direction the the series.

Hamner showed an inclination to create at very early age: in ~ 6, his poem around a red wagon full of puppies was published by theRichmond Times-Dispatch. Cutting board Wolfe became his idol, and he modeled his life ~ the novelist native the small town that Asheville, N.C.

Upon graduation indigenous Schuyler High School, he winner a scholarship come the college of Richmond but in 1943 to be drafted right into the U.S. Army, wherein he learnedhow come dismantle land mines.


In the late 1940s while in ~ the university of Cincinnati, Hamner wrote a manuscript for the CBS Radio regime Dr. Christian, i m sorry billed itself together “the only display on radio where the audience writes the scripts,” and also won part cash. In brand-new York to accept his prize, the met Serling, a college student from Antioch college who additionally was a winner, and also they got their money native Jean Hersholt, the star of the show.

(After graduation, Hamner landed a permanent job in ~ Cincinnati radio terminal WLW, and also when he left, Serling changed him. Years later, Serling would introduce Hamner together “the man who gave me my an initial job.”)

While functioning as a staff writer because that NBC Radio in new York, Hamner released his first novel, Fifty roads to Town, in 1953. A year later, he wrote “Hit and Run,” an episode of the NBC legal drama Justice that focused on a driver (E.G. Marshall) who is haunted after that strikes a newsboy ~ above a bicycle and also leaves the scene.

Hamner, who later on did some creating for the Today show, relocated to California in 1961 and got a large career an increase when producer Buck Houghton favored two suggested story lines the Hamner had sent toSerling for CBS’ Twilight Zone. Hamner wound up writing eight episodes of the series (he reprised the design template from “Hit and also Run” for the 1964 episode “You Drive”); just Serling, Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont did more.

After Spencer’s Mountain was released, Warner Bros. Rental him to create the screenplay because that the spring break film Palm Springs Weekend (1963), starring troy Donahue and Connie Stevens.

Hamner also wrote episodes of the CBS series Gentle Ben, certification Dennis Weaver, Clint Howard and also a bear, and also ABC’s fantasy sitcom Nanny and also the Professor, through Juliet Mills and also Richard Long. He likewise created the short-lived Apple’s Way for CBS and also Boone for NBC and also did the screenplay adaptation for the 1974 film Where the Lilies Bloom.

Hamner’s 1965 novel You Can’t gain There indigenous Here, a work in the life the a teenager trying to find his dad in brand-new York City, was optioned by composer Richard Rodgers because that a musical, yet the Broadway legend passed away in 1979, and the project never ever went forward.

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Survivors incorporate his wife, Jane, that was an editor at Harper’s Bazaar when the pair were married in October 1954, and also their children Scott and Caroline.


I am an extremely sorry to it is in the bearer that sad news. My father, Earl Hamner, passed away now at 12:20 afternoon Pacific time. Dad…