Rita Lakin

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour interview, Rita Lakin talks about her early life, as well as growing up during World War II. She describes her first television-writing job for Dr. Kildare, on an episode that featured Ron Howard and was directed by Sydney Pollack. She recalls writing several episodes of various series including Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre, Daniel Boone, and Peyton Place, where she was close to producer Paul Monash, and began to learn about production. She recounts being head writer for the daytime serial The Doctors, and writing several made-for-television movies including Women in Chains, Torn Between Two Lovers, and A Summer Without Boys. She details being the first female executive producer, or showrunner, for the nighttime serial Flamingo Road. Lakin discusses writing a groundbreaking episode of Medical Center, which was the first television show to feature a transsexual storyline. She speaks of writing for several series produced by Aaron Spelling, including The Mod Squad, Dynasty, and Nightingales, a short-lived series which marked the end of her television-writing career. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview in a joint venture with The Writers Guild Foundation on May 11, 2017 in San Rafael, CA.

"I like writing for television best because in TV you can just call up transportation. You don’t have to write about a stupid car and what it looks like, and what year it is, and things like that. Also because I just love writing dialogue."

Highlights
Rita Lakin on being hired to write for Dr. Kildare, with an episode directed by Sydney Pollack and guest-starring Ron Howard
06:52
Rita Lakin on co-creating Nightingales with Aaron Spelling, and on ending her career
06:04
Rita Lakin on creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling
06:32
Rita Lakin on Mia Farrow cutting her hair during the run of Peyton Place, and on networks notes and the end of the show
02:11
Rita Lakin on the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road
03:50
Rita Lakin on turning down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty
02:26
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences, and on her experience with World War II; on deciding she wanted to be a writer; on being hired to write for Dr. Kildare, with an episode directed by Sydney Pollack and guest-starring Ron Howard
On writing "The Shattered Glass" for Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre, and the Daniel Boone episode "The Reunion"; on becoming a staff writer for Peyton Place, and on producer Paul Monash; on writing Peyton Place: The Next Generation, and on the legacy of the show
On being head writer for The Doctors; on writing a couple of episodes of Family Affair; on being story editor for The Mod Squad for producer Aaron Spelling, and on writing Women in Chains
On the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road; on the premise of Flamingo Road, and on her duties as showrunner; on writing Death Takes a Holiday

Chapter 2

On creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling; on writing A Summer without Boys, and on working with Hugh Hefner on that show; on writing Message to My Daughter
On writing episodes of Medical Center, including a transgender storyline; on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers; on executive producing Executive Suite, and what what she enjoyed about producing
On her writing process, and on joining the Writers Guild; on turning down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty; on co-creating Nightingales with Aaron Spelling, and on ending her career
On how television had changed since she started; on mentors in her career; on writing novels
On advice to aspiring writers; on career achievements and regrets, and on then-current shows she enjoys; on how she'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing a draft of "The Shattered Glass" for Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre
02:10

Dallas

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on turning down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty
02:26

Daniel Boone

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing the Daniel Boone episode "The Reunion"
03:02

Death Takes a Holiday

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing Death Takes a Holiday
02:03

Doctors, The

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on being head writer for The Doctors
06:27

Dr. Kildare

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on being hired to write for Dr. Kildare, with an episode directed by Sydney Pollack and guest-starring Ron Howard
06:52
Rita Lakin on the experience of writing her first television episode (for Dr. Kildare) and on how television writers were regarded when she began
01:38

Dynasty

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Rita Lakin on turning down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty
02:26

Executive Suite

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on executive producing Executive Suite
02:06

Family Affair

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing a couple of episodes of Family Affair
00:49

Flamingo Road

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road
03:50
Rita Lakin on the premise of Flamingo Road, and on her duties as showrunner
02:49
Rita Lakin on hiring writers for Flamingo Road
00:49

Medical Center

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Rita Lakin on writing episodes of Medical Center, including a transgender storyline featuring Robert Reed
05:48

Message to My Daughter, A

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Rita Lakin on writing Message to My Daughter
01:30

Mod Squad, The

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on being story editor for The Mod Squad, and on her duties on that show
05:43
Rita Lakin on learning about production while working on The Mod Squad
01:41

Nightingales

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on co-creating Nightingales with Aaron Spelling, and on ending her career
06:04

Peyton Place

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on becoming a staff writer for Peyton Place, and on producer Paul Monash
05:36
Rita Lakin on Mia Farrow cutting her hair during the run of Peyton Place, and on networks notes and leaving the show
02:11
Rita Lakin on writing Peyton Place: The Next Generation, and on the legacy of Peyton Place
01:25

Rookies, The

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling
06:32

Summer Without Boys, A

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing A Summer Without Boys, and on working with Hugh Hefner on that show
07:45

Torn Between Two Lovers

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Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers
01:33

Women in Chains

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Rita Lakin on working with Aaron Spelling, and on writing the television movie Women in Chains
03:48
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Rita Lakin on mentors in her career
02:14

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Rita Lakin on the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road
03:50
Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers
01:33

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Rita Lakin on the first time she saw television, and on her experience with World War II
03:17
Rita Lakin on the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road
03:50
Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers
01:33

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Rita Lakin on mentors in her career
02:14

Television Industry

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Rita Lakin on how television had changed since she started
00:56

War

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Rita Lakin on the first time she saw television, and on her experience with World War II
03:17

Women

View Topic
Rita Lakin on the advent of the showrunner, and on being the first female showrunner on Flamingo Road
03:50
Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers
01:33

World War II

View Topic
Rita Lakin on the first time she saw television, and on her experience with World War II
03:17
Professions

Producers

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Rita Lakin on what makes a good producer, and on what she enjoyed about producing
03:16

Show Creators

View Profession
Rita Lakin on the premise of Flamingo Road, and on her duties as showrunner
02:49

Writers

View Profession
Rita Lakin on her writing process, and on joining the Writers Guild
03:50
Rita Lakin on advice to aspiring writers
00:18
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on writing "The Shattered Glass" for Bob Hope Presents Chrysler Theatre
02:10

Comedy Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on executive producing Executive Suite
02:06

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on being story editor for The Mod Squad
11:12
Rita Lakin on creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling
06:32

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Rita Lakin on writing for Peyton Place
09:12
Rita Lakin on being head writer for The Doctors
06:27
Rita Lakin on creating and acting as showrunner for Flamingo Road
07:28
Rita Lakin on during down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty
02:26

Medical Dramas

View Genre
Rita Lakin on writing for Dr. Kildare
08:30
Rita Lakin on writing episodes of Medical Center, including a transgender storyline featuring Robert Reed
05:48

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Rita Lakin on working with Aaron Spelling, and on writing the television movie Women in Chains
03:48
Rita Lakin on writing Death Takes a Holiday
02:03
Rita Lakin on writing A Summer without Boys, and on working with Hugh Hefner on that show
07:45
Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers
01:33

Western Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on writing the Daniel Boone episode "The Reunion"
03:02
People

Mia Farrow

View Person Page
Rita Lakin on Mia Farrow cutting her hair during the run of Peyton Place, and on networks notes and the end of the show
02:11

Hugh Hefner

View Interview Page
Rita Lakin on writing A Summer without Boys, and on working with Hugh Hefner on that show
07:45

Ron Howard

View Interview Page
Rita Lakin on being hired to write for Dr. Kildare, with an episode directed by Sydney Pollack and guest-starring Ron Howard
06:52

Paul Monash

View Interview Page
Rita Lakin on becoming a staff writer for Peyton Place, and on producer Paul Monash
05:36

Sydney Pollack

View Person Page
Rita Lakin on being hired to write for Dr. Kildare, with an episode directed by Sydney Pollack and guest-starring Ron Howard
06:52

Robert Reed

View Person Page
Rita Lakin on writing episodes of Medical Center, including a transgender storyline featuring Robert Reed
05:48

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Rita Lakin on working with Aaron Spelling, and on writing the television movie Women in Chains
03:48
Rita Lakin on creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling
06:32
Rita Lakin on co-creating Nightingales with Aaron Spelling, and on ending her career
06:04

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