Richard Shapiro

Show Creator / Producer / Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Richard Shapiro talks for a half-hoiur solo and for two-and-a-half hours with his wife/writing partner Esther Shapiro. He discusses writing for late 1960s episodic television including Land of the Giants, as well as working with Natalie Wood on the 1979 television movie The Cracker Factory. In the joint interview, the Shapiros describe creating the hit primetime drama Dynasty. They speak of the characters and the actors who played them, recall some of the well-known storylines, talk about behind-the-scenes production details, and comment on the enduring international popularity of the show. They also touch on the short-lived spin-off series The Colbys, and offer their thoughts on why the show didn't match the success of the original program. They outline their early partnership, writing for the daytime soap opera Love of Life, as well as the television movies Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, Minstrel Man, Intimate Strangers, and John Steinbeck's East of Eden. B-roll consists of several photos from Dynasty. Jennifer Howard conducted the interview on May 7, 2004 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"The question is always, 'where is the conflict?' And the hardest thing to do is to write conflict between people who care about each other. It's easy enough to have people who don't like each other carrying on.  But if two people really do love each other, and in spite of that are engaged in a conflicted situation, that's harder to do, but  it's compelling."

Highlights
Richard Shapiro on writing with Shimon Wincelberg for Garrison's Gorillas
00:53
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the idea for Dynasty
03:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on how Dynasty reflected the 1980s
01:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the legacy of Dynasty
01:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys
02:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on meeting his wife, Esther Shapiro in college; on their writing partnership and his goals as a writer
06:42
On he and his wife getting hired by Warner Bros. to write a movie; on writing for Ironside and Land of the Giants
05:29
On the challenges of being a freelance TV writer; on moving to Europe; on working with Natalie Wood on the ABC movie The Cracker Factory; on his writing partnership with his wife
06:57

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH ESTHER SHAPIRO: On becoming a writing team; on writing for Manhunt; on pitching
06:10
On Richard continuing to write solo; on the pair writing for the soap opera Love of Life
08:32
On writing the made-for-TV movies Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic, Minstrel Man, and Intimate Strangers
13:44

Chapter 3

On writing scenes of conflict; on their involvement with the TV miniseries East of Eden
05:27
On creating Dynasty; on casting Joan Collins as "Alexis Carrington"
19:36
On the cast of Dynasty - John Forsythe and Linda Evans
03:49

Chapter 4

On Linda Evans' character "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty; on the stars of the show
15:50
On the producers of Dynasty; on audience reaction to the show, merchandizing, and memorable storylines (including the catfights)
13:02

Chapter 5

On "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty; on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans; on the Moldavian Wedding Massacre
06:10
On their favorite storylines, why the show ended, and the legacy of Dynasty
05:17
On the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys; on writing Emerald Point, NAS and Heartbeat
13:18
On creating Richard and Esther Shapiro Entertainment; on then-current projects
05:42

Chapter 6

On whether or not they'd work in television again; on advice to aspiring television writers; on the highlight of their careers
04:51
On career regrets and how they'd like to be remembered
00:46
B-roll photos from their career: of a New Yorker magazine cover, a personal telegram, and the Dynasty cast
03:53
Shows

Bonanza

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing for Bonanza
01:23

Colbys, The

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys
02:19
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the actors and characters on The Colbys
02:17
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Charlton Heston's input on the scripts of The Colbys
01:03
Richard and Esther Shapiro on why The Colbys wasn't successful; on the alien abduction storyline
03:16

Dallas

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on differences between Dallas and Dynasty
01:00

Dynasty

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the idea for Dynasty
03:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the pilot for Dynasty
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the title of Dynasty
01:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Aaron Spelling's involvement with Dynasty
02:37
Richard and Esther Shapiro on differences between Dallas and Dynasty
01:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on how Dynasty reflected the 1980s
01:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the development and pilot of Dynasty
02:58
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
04:00
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the costumes of Dynasty
01:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast of Dynasty
03:49
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Linda Evans' character "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty
00:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star John James
01:02
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Pamela Sue Martin and her character "Fallon Carrington Colby" and Emma Samms, the second actress to portray the character
02:45
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Jack Coleman ("Steven Carrington")
02:43
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Gordon Thomson ("Adam Carrington")
00:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Heather Locklear ("Sammy Jo Dean Carrington")
01:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Diahann Carroll ("Dominique Deveraux")
02:59
Richard and Esther Shapiro on production on Dynasty
02:36
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the producers of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on audience reaction to Dynasty and the show's popularity overseas
03:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on merchandizing on Dynasty
03:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the catfights between "Alexis" and "Krystle" on Dynasty
01:18
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty
01:09
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty - on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality
02:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty
01:15
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans on Dynasty
02:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Moldavian Wedding Massacre on Dynasty
01:32
Richard and Esther Shapiro on notes from the network on Dynasty
00:50
Richard and Esther Shapiro on their favorite storylines and episodes of Dynasty
01:25
Richard and Esther Shapiro on why Dynasty ended
01:13
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty reunion
00:39
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the success of Dynasty and how it affected them
00:55
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the legacy of Dynasty
01:05
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty collection at Marshall Field's
00:44

Emerald Point, N.A.S.

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing Emerald Point, NAS
01:53

Heartbeat

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing Heartbeat
01:15

Intimate Strangers

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
03:02

Ironside

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Richard Shapiro on writing for the NBC show Ironside
00:36

Land of the Giants

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Richard Shapiro on writing for the series Land of the Giants
01:51

Love of Life

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing for the soap opera Love of Life and how it helped them later when creating Dynasty
07:50

Manhunt

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing for Manhunt
00:32

Minstrel Man

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Minstrel Man
07:04

Route 66

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing for Route 66
00:51

Sarah T.--- Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic
03:38
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
02:19

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
02:19

Characters & Catchphrases

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
04:00

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Richard Shapiro on his mentor Shimon Wincelberg
01:11

Diversity in Television

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Minstrel Man
07:04
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Jack Coleman ("Steven Carrington")
02:43
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty - on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality
02:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty
01:15

LGBTQ

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Jack Coleman ("Steven Carrington")
02:43
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines on Dynasty - on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality
02:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on "Steven Carrington's" homosexuality on Dynasty
01:15

Minorities

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Minstrel Man
07:04

Pop Culture

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
04:00

Television Industry

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
02:19
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the challenges facing an independent production company
Professions

Writers

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Richard Shapiro on his goals as a writer
00:28
Richard Shapiro on the challenges of being a freelance TV writer
01:00
Richard Shapiro on defining himself as a writer
00:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on their pitching style
01:06
Richard and Esther Shapiro on advice to aspiring television writers
01:28
Genres

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing for the soap opera Love of Life and how it helped them later when creating Dynasty
07:50
Richard and Esther Shapiro on creation of Dynasty
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast, producers, audience reaction, and memorable storylines on Dynasty
28:52
Richard and Esther Shapiro on memorable storylines and the legacy of Dynasty
11:22
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the Dynasty spinoff The Colbys
09:00

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Sarah T.: Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic
03:38
Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Minstrel Man
07:04
Richard and Esther Shapiro on writing the made-for-TV movie Intimate Strangers
03:02
People

Irwin Allen

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Richard Shapiro on working with producer Irwin Allen on Land of the Giants
00:55

Diahann Carroll

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Diahann Carroll ("Dominique Deveraux")
02:59

Joan Collins

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the creation of Joan Collins' character ("Alexis Carrington") on Dynasty
02:21
Richard and Esther Shapiro on what Joan Collins brought to the character of "Alexis Carrington" on Dynasty
01:39

Douglas S. Cramer

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the producers of Dynasty
00:44

Barry Diller

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on working with Barry Diller at FOX
00:57

Linda Evans

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast of Dynasty - Linda Evans
01:11
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Linda Evans' character "Krystle Carrington" on Dynasty
00:56
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans on Dynasty
02:33

John Forsythe

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on John Forsythe on Dynasty
00:20
Richard and Esther Shapiro on cast changes in the pilot of Dynasty
01:18
Richard and Esther Shapiro on the cast of Dynasty - John Forsythe
02:38

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on ABC founder Leonard Goldenson's reaction the pilot of Dynasty
00:48

Charlton Heston

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the actors and characters on The Colbys - Charlton Heston as "Jason Colby"
01:10
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Charlton Heston's input on the scripts of The Colbys
01:03

Rock Hudson

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Rock Hudson's kiss with Linda Evans on Dynasty
02:33

John James

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star John James
01:02

Heather Locklear

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Dynasty star Heather Locklear ("Sammy Jo Dean Carrington")
01:56

Nolan Miller

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on Nolan Miller's costume design on Dynasty
00:36

Toni Morrison

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on consulting with Toni Morrison on the made-for-TV movie Minstrel Man
00:59

George Peppard

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on cast changes in the pilot of Dynasty
00:32

Elaine Rich

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the producers of Dynasty
00:44

Katharine Ross

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the actors and characters on The Colbys - Katharine Ross
00:16

Esther Shapiro

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Richard Shapiro on his writing partnership with his wife, Esther Shapiro
00:26
Richard Shapiro on he and his wife getting hired by Warner Bros. to write a movie
00:55
Richard Shapiro on his wife, Esther Shapiro
00:55

Aaron Spelling

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the idea for Dynasty
02:33
Richard and Esther Shapiro on Aaron Spelling's involvement with Dynasty
02:37

Barbara Stanwyck

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on working with Barbara Stanwyck on The Colbys
00:28

Anthony D. Thomopoulos

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Richard and Esther Shapiro on the pilot for Dynasty
00:55

Shimon Wincelberg

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Richard Shapiro on his mentor Shimon Wincelberg
01:11

Natalie Wood

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Richard Shapiro on working with Natalie Wood on the ABC movie The Cracker Factory
01:07

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