David Jacobs obituary


David Jacobs, who has died aged 84, was an aspiring novelist when he created the present Dallas, a worldwide phenomenon and US tv’s first peak-time cleaning soap success since Peyton Place. However the author’s transfer to the display was reluctant, made needed by a have to earn cash after his first marriage ended.

In 1975, Jacobs’s ex-wife, Lynn (nee Oliansky), a literary agent and producer whom he had married in 1963, moved from New York to Los Angeles following her second marriage, to the actor John Pleshette. Desirous to be near his daughter, Jacobs went too and – in accordance with an interview with the TV critic Hilary Kingsley – wrote to Lynn, who continued to be his agent, to ask: “No less than can you discover me some work? I don’t wish to make a profession in display or tv writing, simply one thing that pays whereas I’m making an attempt to jot down the sufficient American novel.”

The novel-writing ambition was by no means fulfilled, however he was taken on by Lorimar Productions as a narrative editor on later episodes of a short-lived police drama, The Blue Knight (1975-76), then on the 1977-78 sequence of Household, a couple of Pasadena couple and their three kids.

Given the possibility to provide you with his personal concepts, Jacobs had talks with Lorimar executives that finally resulted in Dallas (1978-91), the story of the wealthy and highly effective Texas oil household the Ewings, who would do something to get richer and change into extra highly effective, after being informed that Linda Evans was on contract to the manufacturing firm.

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The solid of Dallas, 1979. From left: Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Victoria Principal (Pamela Barnes Ewing), Barbara Bel Geddes, sitting (‘Miss Ellie’ Ewing), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Larry Hagman (JR), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing) and Linda Grey (Sue Ellen Ewing). {Photograph}: CBS Picture Archive/Getty Photos

“I considered a semi-trashy character, Pam [Barnes], a lady from the improper facet of the tracks, who marries Bobby, a boy from a wealthy household,” Jacobs recalled. “The following character was JR. Jock Ewing, his father, was honourable however corrupt. Bobby was the apple of his eye, in order that defined JR’s resentment and warped outlook.”

When it was determined that Evans was too outdated to play Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal landed the position, with Patrick Duffy as Bobby and Jim Davis as Jock. (Evans went on to star as Krystle Carrington within the subsequent rival cleaning soap Dynasty).

Jacobs wished Robert Foxworth within the a part of Southfork Ranch’s “nasty” JR Ewing, the villain of the piece, however the actor turned it down (and was later solid in one other Lorimar cleaning soap, Falcon Crest).

Dallas’s casting director then known as in Larry Hagman to audition as JR. “Larry wore boots, had a Stetson in his hand and known as us all ‘darlin’,” recalled Jacobs. “He dressed for that little assembly. I knew he was proper for the half. All of us knew. However I didn’t know he would change into the present.”

With its “Who shot JR?” cliffhanger on the finish of the third sequence, in 1980, the cleaning soap turned one of the crucial watched programmes of all time and created limitless newspaper headlines. JR survived to wreak extra evil whereas Jacobs had an extra success with the Dallas spin-off Knots Touchdown (1979-93), that includes two Ewing members of the family seen briefly within the unique, Jock’s center son, Gary, and his spouse, Valene, performed by Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark.

Following the lives of 4 {couples} in Seaview Circle, a cul-de-sac in a Los Angeles coastal suburb, Knots Touchdown had, in truth, been the primary concept that Jacobs put to Lorimar executives in 1977, however the CBS community regarded it as too center class and tame, wanting one thing “greater and brasher” (Dallas).

Jacobs, additionally govt producer of the brand new cleaning soap, had liked the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 movie Scenes from a Marriage and noticed Knots Touchdown as an American equal. “It is best to all the time steal, however solely high-class stuff,” he quipped. It was by no means fairly as in style as its dad or mum programme, however ran for barely longer and remained closest to Jacobs’s coronary heart – and he even fought to have Pleshette solid as Richard Avery.

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Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackleford in Knots Touchdown, 1991. {Photograph}: Snap

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Ruth (nee Levenson) and Melvin Jacobs, who offered home equipment and insurance coverage, David studied at Baltimore metropolis faculty highschool and Maryland Institute Faculty of Artwork, graduating in wonderful arts in 1961.

Transferring to New York, he turned an illustrator and researcher on Grolier’s Encyclopedia and wrote instructional books on topics starting from Charlie Chaplin to Constantinople, whereas looking for success as a novelist.

In tv, Jacobs by no means equalled the success of Dallas and Knots Touchdown, however his different creations included the drama Married: The First Yr (1979); Secrets and techniques of Midland Heights (1980-81), a cleaning soap geared toward a teen viewers, with Linda Hamilton and Lorenzo Lamas within the solid; Behind the Display screen (1981-82), a cleaning soap set behind the scenes of one other fictional cleaning soap; Paradise (1988-91), a couple of gunfighter mentioning his lifeless sister’s kids; Our bodies of Proof (1992-93), a police sequence starring Lee Horsley and George Clooney; and 4 Corners (1998), with Ann-Margret as a ranch proprietor preventing builders.

Jacobs served as producer or govt producer on these programmes, in addition to Berrenger’s (1985), a failed cleaning soap a couple of department-store dynasty, and Homefront (1991-93), a drama set in postwar Ohio. He additionally wrote the prequel Dallas: The Early Years, a 1986 TV film, and was an govt producer of the primary sequence (1993) of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the feature-length Knots Touchdown Reunion: Collectively Once more (2005).

Jacobs mentioned he “hated” the TV remake of Dallas (2012-14), starring Josh Henderson as JR’s son John Ross, with Hagman, Duffy, Linda Grey (Sue Ellen Ewing) and Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) reprising their unique roles.

He’s survived by his second spouse, Diana (nee Pietrocarli), whom he married in 1977, and their kids, Aaron and Molly; and Albyn, the daughter of his first marriage.


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