rainn.png
Friday October 22nd, 2021 1:59AM

'Brian's Song,' 'Roots,' 'Purple Rain' writer dies at 83

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song” and “Roots” and the Prince film “Purple Rain,” has died. He was 83.

Blinn died Thursday of natural causes at an assisted living community in Burbank, California, his daughter, Anneliese Johnson, said Saturday.

He won Emmy and Peabody honors for the 1971 TV movie “Brian's Song," which dramatized the friendship of Chicago Bears players Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. It was a hit when it aired and is a enduring favorite with sports fans and critics.

Last month, Hall of Fame running back Sayers died at age 77.

Blinn's work on “Roots,” the blockbuster 1977 miniseries adapted from Alex Haley's book about his African American ancestors in slavery and freedom, won an Emmy and a Humanitas Prize.

“He was a master of his art and a gentleman of the first order. Rest easy, my friend,” actor Jim Beaver ("Deadwood," “Supernatural”) posted on Twitter.

Johnson described her father as a “pioneer who went against the grain and wrote and created what he felt. ... He wanted to create what really felt organic and authentic. He never acquiesced to the industry."

Blinn was modest about his accomplishments and the accolades he received, she said, with a “humble, grounded view of life” that he imparted to his family.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Blinn's early TV credits included the 1960s shows “Rawhide,” “Bonnaza” and “My Favorite Martian.” He went on to create and produce shows, among them “Starsky & Hutch,” “The Rookies” and “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” in a career that spanned five decades.

“Brian's Song,” starring James Caan as Piccolo and Billy Dee Williams as Sayers, portrayed the two bonding when they became roommates on the road, rare at the time for Black and white players. They drew closer when Piccolo was diagnosed with cancer that proved terminal in 1970.

Blinn and Albert Magnoli wrote 1984′s “Purple Rain,” which Magnoli directed.

Besides his daughter, Blinn's survivors include his son, Chris, and his grandchildren.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Turner solo homer gives Dodgers early 1-0 lead
Justin Turner became the first player to hit a first-inning home run in consecutive World Series games, putting the Dodgers ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Saturday night as Los Angeles tried to take a three games to one lead
8:35PM ( 7 minutes ago )
'Brian's Song,' 'Roots,' 'Purple Rain' writer dies at 83
An award-winning screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song” and “Roots” has died
8:33PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Indiana's gamble pays off in OT upset over No. 8 Penn State
Michael Penix forced overtime with a 2-point conversion run with 22 seconds left, then scored on a diving 2-point conversion to give Indiana a season-opening 36-35 upset victory over No. 8 Penn State — ending the Big Ten’s longest streak of consecutive losses to Top 10 teams at 42
8:16PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Trump takes a Big 10 football lap in Ohio rally
President Donald Trump is making sure Ohioans remember that he pushed the Big Ten to play football after the season had initially been canceled amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic
7:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Trump says he voted a straight GOP ticket
President Donald Trump says he voted “straight Republican” when he voted early in Florida on Saturday
6:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Jon Bon Jovi does what he can at Biden rally
Rock star Jon Bon Jovi gave a small concert at a drive-in rally for Joe Biden in eastern Pennsylvania on Saturday, performing three songs and praising Biden’s response to the coronavirus
5:27PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
NBC's Welker sharp in first turn as debate moderator
Moderator Kristen Welker, with the help of an offstage mute button, helped give Americans a substantive head-to-head debate over leadership that had been missing during the presidential campaign
11:54PM ( 1 day ago )
World Series draws record-low audience for 2nd night
The World Series has drawn a record-low audience of television viewers for the second straight night
9:11PM ( 1 day ago )
Study: TV industry falls short of off-camera inclusivity
When Zendaya won last month’s Emmy Award for top drama series actress, her triumph seemed to underscore the TV industry’s progress toward inclusivity
9:02AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online TV News
The Latest: Turner solo homer gives Dodgers early 1-0 lead
Justin Turner became the first player to hit a first-inning home run in consecutive World Series games, putting the Dodgers ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Saturday night as Los Angeles tried to take a three games to one lead
8:35PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Indiana's gamble pays off in OT upset over No. 8 Penn State
Michael Penix forced overtime with a 2-point conversion run with 22 seconds left, then scored on a diving 2-point conversion to give Indiana a season-opening 36-35 upset victory over No. 8 Penn State — ending the Big Ten’s longest streak of consecutive losses to Top 10 teams at 42
8:16PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Indiana's OT gamble pay off in upset over No. 8 Penn State
Michael Penix forced overtime with a 2-point conversion run with 22 seconds left, then scored on a diving 2-point conversion to give Indiana a season-opening 36-35 upset victory over No. 8 Penn State — ending the Big Ten’s longest streak of consecutive losses to Top 10 teams at 42
8:13PM ( 29 minutes ago )
World Series notes: Kershaw could have title-clinching shot
Clayton Kershaw could take the mound Sunday night with a chance to close out the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988
7:59PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Surging coronavirus colors White House race in closing days
President Donald Trump assured supporters packed shoulder to shoulder Saturday in North Carolina that “we’re rounding the turn” on the coronavirus and mocked his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, for raising alarms
7:40PM ( 1 hour ago )