David Shaw, Writer for Theatre, TV and Film, Dies at 90 | Playbill

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Obituaries David Shaw, Writer for Theatre, TV and Film, Dies at 90 David Shaw, who wrote extensively for the film, television and theatre, and who co-wrote the book for the Tony-winning musical Redhead, died July 27 in Beverly Hill, CA. He was 90.

Mr. Shaw's collaborators on the Redhead libretto were Herbert Fields, Dorothy Fields and Sidney Sheldon. The Gwen Verdon vehicle ran 452 performances on Broadway beginning in 1959. Later, in 1963, he worked solo on the book to the musical Tovarich, a show about Russian royalty in exile which featured another major female star, Vivien Leigh. It ran 264 performances. Leigh won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. His only other Broadway credit was the short-lived They Should Have Stood in Bed, a 1942 play he wrote with Leo Rifkin and his boyhood friend, Frank Tarloff.

He was born Samuel David Shamforoff on Aug. 27, 1916, in Brooklyn, NY, to Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father, William, was a milliner and his mother, Rose, was a homemaker. The family name was changed to Shaw when Sam was a teenager. His older brother was Irwin Shaw, who grew up to become a noted novelist.

Mr. Shaw graduated from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and, after serving during World War II, became a writer for episodic radio in New York. He then moved to Los Angeles to be a comedy writer.

His first film credit was for the story for A Foreign Affair, the 1948, Berlin-set Billy Wilder political comedy starring Jean Arthur. But thereafter, he wrote mainly for the nascent medium of television. He wrote scripts for "Playhouse 90," "Philco TV Playhouse," "The Defenders," and "Studio One." He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his screeplay for the 1970 comedy "If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium."

He remained friends with Tarloff throughout his life. For many years, the two joined several other Hollywood writers and producers, including Fred Freiberger, Bernie Kahn and Michael Morris, every Tuesday at the Mulholland Tennis Club. In 1998, filmmaker David Zeiger made a documentary about the group of friends called "Funny Old Guys." Mr. Shaw is survived by his wife, Maxine Stuart, an actress whom he married in 1973; two daughters, Liz Baron of Dallas, and Ellen Agress of New York City; a stepdaughter, Chris Ann Maxwell; and four grandchildren.

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