Roots and Purple Rain Screenwriter William Blinn Dead at 83

Roots and Purple Rain Screenwriter William Blinn Dead at 83

William Blinn in 2009
Photo: WireImage

American screenwriter William Blinn, whose work in television spanned decades, is dead at the age of 83, Deadline reports. Blinn died of natural causes on Thursday, October 22 in Burbank, California, according to his daughter, Annalise Johnson. The prolific writer is known for adapting Chicago Bears player Gale Sayers’s book I Am Third into the 1971 TV drama Brian’s Song, which won him his first Emmy as well as a Peabody Award. Blinn would go on to win his second Emmy in 1977 for co-writing the seminal historical miniseries Roots, which Vulture named “the Single Most Important Piece of Scripted Television in Broadcast History.” Beyond prestige drama, Blinn created the beloved buddy-cop series Starsky & Hutch in 1975. While Blinn mostly worked in television, his rare foray into movies is perhaps the single best lone film-writing credit one can have: Blinn co-wrote Purple Rain, forever immortalizing Prince and Lake Minnetonka onscreen.

Roots and Purple Rain Screenwriter William Blinn Dead at 83

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