David Dortort, creator of the long-running hit Western Bonanza, has died. He was 93.
Dortort died Sunday at his Westwood, Calif., apartment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
A three-time Emmy nominee, Dortort got his start writing for such series as The Restless Gun, Lassie and Waterfront. In 1959, he launched Bonanza, featuring then-unknown talents Michael Landon, Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts.
The series, which deviated from the usual Western fare by focusing on a family as opposed to drifters, became a ratings smash in 1961 when NBC changed its timeslot from Saturdays to Sundays. It was the nation's top-rated prime-time network series for three seasons, starting in 1964.
Capitalizing on the introduction of color television, Bonanza was the first American Western series to film all its episodes in color.
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