The Hollywood writer/producer passed away on Sunday (05Sep10) in his Westwood, California apartment.
Dortort pitched his idea for the western adventure in 1959 and Bonanza came to life on the small screen later that year. His creation was the most-watched programme from 1964 to 1967 and ran for a total of 14 years.
Dortort produced several Bonanza spin-offs including Bonanza: The Next Generation, and he racked up writing credits for other TV series including Lassie, The Restless Gun, Climax! and Waterfront.
The three-time Emmy nominee was also president of the Producers Guild of America and served as president of the Television-Radio branch of the Writers Guild of America.
While the major networks are reveling in the publicity surrounding the release their fall 2001 lineups, Pax TV has some news of its own. Ponderosa, a prequel to the TV classic Bonanza, will air on Pax this fall, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series will follow the travails a young Ben Cartwright and the pressures he faces raising three young sons in 19th Century Nevada. Ponderosa producer David Dortort expects to air the series in Bonanza's old NBC time slot: Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST.