Rita Lakin

Writer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

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."

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

Dallas

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

Daniel Boone

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

Death Takes a Holiday

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing Death Takes a Holiday

Doctors, The

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

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
Rita Lakin on the experience of writing her first television episode (for Dr. Kildare) and on how television writers were regarded when she began

Dynasty

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

Executive Suite

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on executive producing Executive Suite

Family Affair

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

Flamingo Road

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

Medical Center

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing episodes of Medical Center, including a transgender storyline featuring Robert Reed

Message to My Daughter, A

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on writing Message to My Daughter

Mod Squad, The

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

Nightingales

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

Peyton Place

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

Rookies, The

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

Summer Without Boys, A

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

Torn Between Two Lovers

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on the television movie Torn Between Two Lovers, and on advancing the cause of more women television writers

Women in Chains

View Show Page
Rita Lakin on working with Aaron Spelling, and on writing the television movie Women in Chains
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Rita Lakin on mentors in her career

Diversity in Television

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

Historic Events and Social Change

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

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Rita Lakin on mentors in her career

Television Industry

View Topic
Rita Lakin on how television had changed since she started

War

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

Women

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

World War II

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

Producers

View Profession
Rita Lakin on what makes a good producer, and on what she enjoyed about producing

Show Creators

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

Writers

View Profession
Rita Lakin on her writing process, and on joining the Writers Guild
Rita Lakin on advice to aspiring writers
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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

Comedy Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on executive producing Executive Suite

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Rita Lakin on being story editor for The Mod Squad
Rita Lakin on creating The Rookies with producer Aaron Spelling

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Rita Lakin on writing for Peyton Place
Rita Lakin on being head writer for The Doctors
Rita Lakin on creating and acting as showrunner for Flamingo Road
Rita Lakin on during down Dallas, and on her very short stint on Dynasty

Medical Dramas

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

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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

Western Series

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

Hugh Hefner

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

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

Paul Monash

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

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

Robert Reed

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

Aaron Spelling

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

All Interviews

Q
S