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Lorenzo Semple, Jr.

( b. Mar 27, 1923 New Rochelle, New York, USA - d. Mar 28, 2014 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male

Lorenzo Semple Jr. was a playwright and screenwriter who would probably be best known for his scripts for films like "Papillon" and "Pretty Poison" if he hadn't put the Zap! and the Pow! in the original episodes of the arch, goofy 1960s television show "Batman."

Mr. Semple had written a couple of Broadway plays and episodes for a number of television series when he and the producer William Dozier were asked by ABC executives to adapt the Batman comic book into a television series.

The show had its premiere on Jan. 12, 1966, and was an instant hit, though not a long-lasting one. It ran for two years, twice a week -- with the first episode ending in a cliffhanger -- 120 episodes in all. Mr. Semple wrote the first four episodes and was a story consultant throughout the series.

Lorenzo went to the Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., and then Yale, but he left school before graduation during World War II to join the American Field Service as an ambulance driver for the Free French fighting German and Italian forces in North Africa. Returning to the United States, he was drafted and served in the Army as an intelligence officer in Europe through the end of World War II.

When he came home, he studied dramatic writing at Columbia, and in the 1950s two of his works appeared briefly on Broadway: Tonight in Samarkand, a melodrama set in a traveling circus in France, directed by Alan Schneider and starring Theodore Bikel and Louis Jourdan; and Golden Fleecing, a farce starring Tom Poston that was later made into a film, "The Honeymoon Machine," starring Steve McQueen.

In addition to "Batman," Mr. Semple's television credits include a variety of other 1960s shows: the detective series "Burke's Law," starring Gene Barry; the war drama "The Rat Patrol," set in the North African desert during World War II; and another series about a costumed crime-fighter, "The Green Hornet."

Mr. Semple wrote the screenplay for the 1966 movie version of the "Batman" television series. He also wrote or collaborated on a number of well-received film dramas: "Papillon" (1973), the prison drama set on Devil's Island with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman; "The Parallax View" (1974), a political conspiracy thriller starring Warren Beatty; "The Drowning Pool" (1975), a crime drama starring Paul Newman as the detective Lew Harper; and "Three Days of the Condor" (1976), about a researcher embroiled in a C.I.A. plot, starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.

Source: The New York Times obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
Golden Fleecing
[Play, Comedy, Original]
  • Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Oct 15, 1959 - Dec 26, 1959
Tonight in Samarkand
[Play, Melodrama, Original]
  • Written by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Feb 16, 1955 - Mar 12, 1955
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