James Schmerer, TV Writer on ‘MacGyver,’ ‘CHiPs’ and More, Dies at 81

Schmerer’s credits also include “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Fantasy Island” among many others

James Schmerer
Courtesy of WGAW

James Schmerer, a veteran television writer with credits on numerous 1970s and 1980s classics like “CHiPs,” “MacGyver,” “Fantasy Island” and “Hawaii Five-0,” died in his Oregon home on Oct. 4, the Writers Guild of America West announced Tuesday. He was 81, and had recently suffered a stroke.

Born in Flushing, New York, Schmerer’s career on television began in the 1960s — he was admitted to WGAW in 1965 — with his rise to prominence coming during the following decade. His many credits also included “Vega$,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The High Chaparral,” “Eight is Enough,” “T.J. Hooker” and “The Fall Guy.”

Schmerer also wrote for “The Rookies,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” “The Mod Squad,” “Medical Center,” “Mannix,” “Wimzie’s House,” “Matt Helm,” “Isis,” “True Confessions,” “The New Mike Hammer,” “Logan’s Run,” “Code R,” “24-Robert,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” and “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”

Schmerer also served as a producer, working on “The High Chaparral,” “Chase,” “The Delphi Bureau,” “Daniel Boone” and “The Silencers,” and on the documentary series “Hollywood and the Stars.”

A celebration of Schmerer’s life will be held from 3 – 11 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Eugene, Oregon. The event is open to the public, and interested parties may contact pschmerer@gmail.com for information about the event.

Schmerer is survived by his daughter, Pamela Schmerer Noyes, and her husband, Damon. His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the Oregon Humane Society.