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Oliver Crawford (17 August 191724 September 2008; age 91), born Oliver Kaufman, was an Emmy Award-nominated television writer and author who contributed to three episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. He first wrote the story and co-wrote the teleplay for the first season episode "The Galileo Seven" along with S. Bar-David. He later wrote the teleplay for "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (based on Lee Cronin's outline "Down from Heaven") and co-wrote the story for "The Cloud Minders" with David Gerrold (based on Gerrold's outline "Castles in the Sky"). Both of these episodes were part of the show's third season.

Personal information

Crawford was born in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the Chicago Art Institute and the Goodman Theater. He died in Los Angeles, California, on 24 September 2008. He was 91 years old. He was survived by two daughters and a son.

Early career and the blacklist

He was among the many Hollywood writers who fell victim to the infamous blacklist of the 1950s, and one of the few to recover in their careers when it was over.

At the time he was contacted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953, Crawford was just starting his writing career. He had written for several television programs, including Terry and the Pirates, Climax!, and Kraft Television Theatre. He also co-wrote the story for the 1953 western film The Man from Alamo and co-wrote a segment of the anthological 1954 film The Steel Cage. His segment, entitled "The Hostages," starred Lawrence Tierney.

Crawford was blacklisted after refusing to reveal names of suspected Communists. He then moved to New York with his family and took a variety of jobs. He returned to the writing business in 1957 when his actor friend Sam Levene got him a job as a writer on the CBS anthology series Playhouse 90.

Post-blacklisting career

During the 1950s, soon after rebounding from the blacklist, Crawford received Emmy Award nominations for his work on the series Climax! and The Lineup. He wrote for several other shows, as well, including three episodes of Rawhide, on of which featured Harry Townes and Garry Walberg).

His writing credits during the 1960s included Bonanza (two episodes, including one featuring Ken Lynch), Ben Casey (five episodes, including one featuring Tom Troupe and another with Barbara Luna), The Fugitive (three episodes, including one with Gene Lyons), Gilligan's Island (an episode directed by Lawrence Dobkin), The Wild Wild West (two episodes, including one with Antoinette Bower, and I Spy (an episode with Roger C. Carmel).

He was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for writing a 1964 episode of The Outer Limits entitled "The Special One," which was directed by Gerd Oswald and featured Jason Wingreen. Other genre shows he wrote for, in addition to Star Trek, included Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (which starred Arch Whiting) and Land of the Giants (which starred Don Marshall).

Some of the other television shows he worked on during the 1960s were The Rifleman (which starred John Hoyt) and Here Come the Brides (which starred Mark Lenard and David Soul). During the 1970s, he contributed scripts to such television series as Mannix (including an episode which featured Anthony Zerbe), Petrocelli (which starred Susan Howard), Ironside (an episode which featured Davis Roberts), The Bionic Woman, and Kojak.

In 1978, Crawford wrote a novel called The Execution. He adapted this novel into a made-for-TV movie in 1985. Robert Hooks, Allan Miller, and Alan Oppenheimer were among the cast members in the movie.

Crawford served on the Writers Guild of America's board of directors for twenty-six years. He lobbied to remove the anti-communist loyalty oath from the guild's membership application. He also worked with the guild to provide financial restitution to victims of the blacklist. The Writers Guild awarded Crawford with two Morgan Cox Awards, one in 1983 and another in 1997. He received the latter as part of the Writers Guild of America West's Property Planning Committee; he shared the award with six other writers, including D.C. Fontana.

Further reading

  • "Oliver Crawford's 'Last Battlefield'", Edward Gross, Starlog, issue 140, March 1989, pp. 58-59