Peter S. Fischer, the prolific television writer behind “Murder, She Wrote” and “Columbo,” passed away on Monday, his grandson Jake McElrath told TheWrap. He was 88.
“We are very lucky to have so much of his work still accessible, like pieces of him left behind,” McElrath said in a statement to TheWrap. “He was an amazing presence to have in our lives, our Pa. We are all going to miss him.”
Fischer, who was nominated for three Emmy Awards across the duration of his career, is also known for his work on “Ellery Queen” and “The Eddie Capra Mysteries.” No further details about Fischer’s death are known at this time.
Born in 1935, Fischer’s career in Hollywood stretches back to writing 1971 TV movie “The Last Child,” before writing several TV episodes on “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law,” “Griff,” “Kojak” and “Baretta.”
The TV writer went on to wrote and craft the story behind Jim Hutton-led “Ellery Queen,” alongside cocreators Richard Levinson and William Link, who he also collaborated with on “Columbo,” which ran from 1974-1976.
By 1984, Fischer spearheaded the creation and writing for “Murder, She Wrote,” which he cocreated alongside Levinson and Link. Produced and distributed by Universal Television for CBS, “Murder, She Wrote” had a 12-season run and centered on mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, who had never worked on a TV show when she accepted the gig.
Though the series went on for 12 seasons, Fischer left as a writer after seven installments, having written nearly three dozen episodes. In a 2012 interview, the writer shared that he “didn’t know how, as a writer, to keep finding really fresh ideas.”
“I knew we could rehash old plots with different locales and different names and the ratings wold hold up, but I wold have been bored and we would have been shortchanging the audience,” Fischer said. “It was delightful to see the show continue into its 12th year and I am positive had they left it on Sunday it would have gone for another four or five seasons. But, alas, the geniuses at the network always think they know better.”
After writing hit murder mysteries for Hollywood, Fischer left the industry and became a seasoned mystery novelist, writing 22 novels that followed a Hollywood studio agent named Joe Bernardi.
Fischer is succeeded by his two children, Megan and Christopher, and six grandchildren Peter, Nicholas, Samantha, Jake, Molly and Eden.
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