The writer and producer died on Sunday, his son confirmed on Tuesday
David Jacobs, creator of Dallas and Knots Landing, has died at the age of 84.
Jacobs died from complications from a series of infections on Sunday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, his son Aaron confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. The outlet also reported that the writer and producer had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jacobs — who was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1936 — was best known for creating the popular soap drama Dallas, which originally ran for 12 seasons from 1978 to 1991. A reboot of Dallas later arrived in 2012, airing until 2014.
The show was born, per The Hollywood Reporter, after Jacobs worked on a movie treatment about four couples living in California and pitched it to CBS with development executive Michael Filerman at Lorimar Productions.
After the network requested a saga for their contracted actress Linda Evans, Jacobs developed a further treatment for a series he named “Untitled Linda Evans Project” — which according to the outlet, Filerman renamed "Dallas" before submitting. The show was picked up, and Dallas — as well as J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman — hit TV screens.
Jacobs originally wrote the first five episodes of Dallas, according to the BBC, before he had visited the Texan city. In 2021, the writer and producer spoke about his ambition in the early days of his career. "I had this kind of arrogance I could write my way out of anything," Jacobs told Daily Beast in the 2021 interview.
"From 1964 to 2004 not one year went by when I didn’t have something published, or produced. And sure, I think back on it now and wondered how the hell I did it,” he added.
Dallas became so successful that it spawned spinoff series Knots Landing, which debuted a year later. The latter series ran for 14 seasons and ended in 1993.
Jacobs began his career writing books — “Master Painters of the Renaissance” was published in 1968 — after studying art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, followed by a Master's in art history at Hunter College in New York, according to Variety.
Following the success of Dallas, Jacobs went on to write for several other shows, including Dallas: The Early Years, Bodies of Evidence and Four Corners. He received two Emmy nominations for the '90s series Homefront, which he executive produced.
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The producer also worked as an executive produced on various projects, including popular ABC series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and 2005 TV movie Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again. He also co-created the late 1980s Western series Paradise, which starred Robert Porter.
Jacobs is survived by his wife Diana and their two children Aaron and Molly, his daughter Albyn Hall, from his previous marriage to Lynne Oliansky, and his grandchildren Georgia and Riley.
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