David Wolper

Producer, Executive
An incredibly prolific producer and executive producer of mainly small screen fare, David L. Wolper created the standard for television documentaries in the 1960s, produced popular sitcoms in the 1970s, and went on to ... Read more »
Born: 01/11/1928 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Producer (74)

The Race For Space 2014 (Movie)

(Producer)

Wattstax 2000 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Celebrate the Century 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Legends, Icons & Superstars of the 20th Century 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory -- 75 Years of Stars 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

L.A. Confidential 1997 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Surviving Picasso 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Murder in the First 1995 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

John Jakes' Heaven and Hell: North and South, Part III 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

On Trial 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Here's Looking at You, Warner Brothers 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Celebrations 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Best of the Worst 1990 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dillinger 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Liberty Weekend 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Casablanca 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Thorn Birds 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Agatha Christie's "Murder Is Easy" 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Small World 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

This Is Elvis 1981 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Man Who Saw Tomorrow 1980 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Chico and the Man 1973 - 1978 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Collision Course 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Get Christie Love! 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Make Mine Red, White, and Blue 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Visions of Eight 1973 (Movie)

(Producer)

One Is a Lonely Number 1971 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 1971 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Hellstrom Chronicle 1970 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium 1969 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Say Goodbye 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Bridge at Remagen 1969 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Devil's Brigade 1968 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Four Days in November 1963 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

A Will of Their Own (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Bed of Lies (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald (TV Show)

Executive Producer

His Mistress (TV Show)

Executive Producer

I Will Fight No More Forever (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Movin' With Nancy (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Moviola: The Silent Lovers (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Moviola: This Year's Blonde (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Murder in Mississippi (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (TV Show)

Executive Producer

North and South (TV Show)

Executive Producer

North and South: Book II (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Prince For a Day (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Queen (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Roots (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Roots: The Gift (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Roots: The Next Generations (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Sandburg's Lincoln (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Terror in the Mall (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The 500-Pound Jerk (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Betty Ford Story (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Flood: Who Will Save Our Children? (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Legend of Marilyn Monroe (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Mists Of Avalon (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Mystic Warrior (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Plot to Kill Hitler (TV Show)

Executive Producer

To Serve and Protect (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Victory at Entebbe (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Welcome Back, Kotter (TV Show)

Executive Producer

What Price Victory (TV Show)

Executive Producer

When You Remember Me (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Without Warning (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Actor (8)

Jacques Cousteau 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Art Buchwald: The Wit of Washington 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Mike Wallace: TV's Grand Inquisitor 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The 28th NAACP Image Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Color Adjustment 1992 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Television Academy Hall of Fame 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Television Academy Hall of Fame 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor
Director (1)

The Race For Space 2014 (Movie)

(Director)
Other (2)

The Wizard of Oz: 40 Years on Television 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Acknowledgment

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Assistant

Biography

An incredibly prolific producer and executive producer of mainly small screen fare, David L. Wolper created the standard for television documentaries in the 1960s, produced popular sitcoms in the 1970s, and went on to secure his place in history as the ground-breaking producer of "Roots" (ABC, 1977) and "The Thorn Birds" (ABC, 1983), the two most watched miniseries of all time. Once dubbed "Mr. Documentary" by Time magazine, Wolper established himself as a successful business executive before moving over to the creative side with acclaimed documentaries like "The Making of the President" (ABC, 1960) and the National Geographic specials. Having found some success in features with "The Devil's Brigade" (1968) and "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (1971), he introduced the world to Freddie Prinze and John Travolta through "Chico and the Man" (NBC, 1974-78) and "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79) respectively. Wolper next made television history with the adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots," which ran for eight consecutive nights in early 1977 and became the most acclaimed miniseries ever made, a success he rivaled in the next decade with "The Thorn Birds." Meanwhile, his lavish production for the Opening Ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles set a trend for all others to follow. Though the high-energy produced took several steps back in his later years, emerging only to produce films like "Murder in the First" (1995) and "L.A. Confidential" (1997), there was no doubt that Wolper remained an unparalleled television icon.

Relationships

Irvin S Wolper

Father

Anna Wolper

Mother

Leslie Wolper

Daughter

Michael Wolper

Son

Toni Carroll

Wife
Married in 1953 divorced December 21, 1955

Margaret Richard

Wife
Married May 11, 1958 divorced in 1969

Gloria Wolper

Wife
Co-authored 1991 novel "Dirty Dreams" with producer Linda Obst writes column for BUZZ Magazine married July 11, 1974

Mark Wolper

Son
works in partnership with his father

EDUCATION

University of Southern California

Los Angeles , California

Drake University

Des Moines , Iowa

Milestones

2002

Executive-produced the television special, "Roots: Celebrating 25 Years"

2001

Executive-produced the TNT fantasy drama feature "The Mists of Avalon," starring Anjelica Huston, Julianna Margulies, and Joan Allen

1997

Executive-produced highly acclaimed drama "L.A. Confidential," directed by Curtis Hanson

1996

Produced the James Ivory-directed biopic "Surviving Picasso," starring Anthony Hopkins as the legendary artist

1991

Was executive producer of "The Best of the Worst" (Fox)

1987

Executive produced the ABC TV-movie biopic "The Betty Ford Story"

1984

Produced the internationally televised "Los Angeles 1984: Games of the XXIII Olympiad" ceremonies

1983

Was executive producer of the hit miniseries "The Thorn Birds" (ABC)

1979

Served as executive producer on the sequel "Roots: The Next Generations" (ABC)

1977

Executive-produced the groundbreaking and much-heralded ABC miniseries "Roots," based on Alex Haley's 1976 best seller "Roots: The Saga of an American Family"

1976

Joined David L. Wolper Productions with Warner Bros.; also became consultant to Time Warner, Inc.

1975

Executive-produced the ABC sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter"

1974

Executive-produced the NBC comedy series "Chico and the Man"

1974

Was executive producer of the ABC police drama "Get Christie Love!"

1973

Produced music documentary "Wattstax"

1970

Produced the insect-world documentary "The Hellstrom Chronicle"; directed by Walon Green and Ed Spiegel

1970

Produced the fantasy musical feature "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory"

1970

Formed The Wolper Organization, Inc.

1968

Produced comedy feature "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"

1968

Produced feature film "The Devil's Brigade"

1968

Produced "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"

1967

Formed a new Wolper Productions

1966

Signed with National Geographic Magazine to produce TV specials

1966

Produced "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau"

1965

Merged Wolper Prods. with Metromedia; joined board of directors

1963

Produced "Hollywood and the Stars" (NBC)

1962

Produced original "Biography" series

1960

Produced first "Making of the President" documentary; also produced documentaries in 1964 and 1968

1959

Made directorial debut with the documentary "The Race for Space" (also wrote)

1958

Formed Wolper Productions

1950

Named vice president in charge of west coast operations for Associated Artists

1948

Broke into show business as treasurer with Flamingo Films

Bonus Trivia

.

Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1988

.

In 1980, Wolper publicly condemned CBS and producer Linda Yellen for casting Vanessa Redgrave, known for her pro-Palestinian sympathies, in the Holocaust drama "Playing for Time"

.

Wolper is actively involved with The Olympics.

.

His extensive art collection included numerous Picasso sculptures now on loan to the Los Angeles County Museum.

.

In a salute in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Wolper said his most exciting moment in show business was when Louis Gossett Jr walked into his office and demonstrated how he planned to perform the character of Fiddler in "Roots."

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