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Award-winning TV producer David Gerber dies at 86

January 6, 2010 |  4:24 pm

Gerber David Gerber, an award-winning television producer and a top executive whose career included roles as executive producer of the 1970s series "Police Story" and "Police Woman" and the 2006 TV movie "Flight 93," has died. He was 86.

Gerber died of heart failure Saturday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, with his wife, actress Laraine Stephens, at his side, said publicist Dale Olson.

In a more than 50-year career in which he headed his own production companies and studio television divisions, Gerber won Emmy, Golden Globe and Peabody awards.

Early in his career as an independent producer in the late 1960s and early '70s, he was executive producer of the situation comedies "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and "Nanny and the Professor."

But Gerber was best known in the industry for dealing with serious, often controversial subjects as one of television’s pioneers of social realism.

He shared an Emmy for outstanding drama series as an executive producer of "Police Story," the anthology series created by ex-cop Joseph Wambaugh that ran on NBC from 1973 to 1977.

"Police Woman," whose pilot aired as an episode of "Police Story," starred Angie Dickinson and aired on NBC from 1974 to 1978.

Among Gerber’s other credits as an executive producer are the 1975 TV movie "Medical Story," the 1976 TV movie "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case," the 1980 miniseries "Beulah Land," the 1984 miniseries "George Washington" and the 2001 TV movie "The Lost Battalion."

Gerber was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 25, 1923. He served as a radio gunner tech sergeant in the Army Air Forces during World War II and became a prisoner of war when his B-17 was shot down over Germany.

A full obituary will follow at

-- Dennis McLellan

Photo: David Gerber in 2008. Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images