Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 11:28 UK

Waltons writer Furia dies aged 79

John Furia Jr (left) and David W Rintels
John Furia Jr (left) and David W Rintels met in 1972 to discuss censorship

Prolific screen and TV writer John Furia Jr, who penned shows including Bonanza, The Waltons and Hawaii Five-O has died aged 79.

Furia - a long time advocate for Hollywood writers - was once president of the Writers Guild of America West.

The organisation's current president, Patric M Verrone said confirmed his death in a statement.

"John's character and dignity touched and influenced generations of writers," he said.

"For those of us who relied on his knowledge and his counsel, John was more than an eminence grise, he was pure eminence."

Furia was also a founding chairman of University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television Writing Division.

He also worked as a professor there teaching screen and TV writing.

Born in 1929, Furia started his career singing with dance bands in New York City.

He then moved to California where he worked for major studios and networks, earning himself a reputation as one of Hollywood's most productive dramatists.

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