The author and television producer died as a result of a series of infections
David Jacobs, the man who brought more than 700 episodes of Dallas and Knots Landing to television in the United States, has died at the age of 84.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first covered the story, Jacobs died after a year-long battle with Alzheimer’s and a series of infections.
“Dallas” aired for 14 seasons and 357 episodes before ending in 1991, and “Knots Landing” ran for an equally impressive 14 seasons and 344 episodes until its finale in 1993.
Although Knots Landing was not produced until after Dallas aired, it was the first show that Jacobs presented to Lorimar Productions. He later told that Daily Beast“But I really think they were like, ‘Oh dear, this is the last thing we need.’ They said what they really wanted was something glittery, more of a saga, and that became ‘Dallas.’
Jacobs continued, “But I felt a more personal connection to ‘Knots Landing.'” However, when CBS said “Saga,” I thought of westerns. I loved westerns. I later said it had to be set in Texas. Legends always happen in Texas.”
The writer admitted later that he wrote the first few episodes of Dallas without visiting the state because he didn’t have time. After finally making it to the Lonestar State, he realized he had to do more.
He continued, “So I’m just going to write it very stereotypically – with stereotypes – and then I’m going to visit it and take it back. And then I went to Dallas and realized I had to do things differently further. There is something about Dallas and the people of Dallas that I can only describe as extravagant, but not ostentatious.”
The show was an instant hit, and within two years, instead of making $12,000 a year, Jacobs was building his own home. ABC introduced Dynasty three years after Dallas premiered, and the shows tied in ratings. Admitting that the show lost a bit of momentum over the years, he said, “When the show got a little down and faded, it just got tired.” It took some craziness. No crazy stories, just something cheeky in the writing.”
For all his contributions to one of the biggest television shows of all time, Jacobs was not involved in the biggest episode in Dallas history: the season 3 finale, A House Divided, in which J.R. Ewing is shot and killed by an unknown assailant one of the most famous cliffhangers in history.
In an interview with Television Academy, Jacobs said that season three was originally intended to end with a two-parter in which JR’s father, Jock, is falsely accused of murder. However, because CBS ordered four additional episodes for season three, executive producer Philip Capice and showrunner Leonard Katzman held a writers’ meeting, which Jacobs did not attend, and at which it was decided to end the season with the shooting of J.R.
“I think it was Camille Marchetta, the story editor, who said, ‘Why don’t we just shoot the son of a bitch?'” Jacobs recalled, “When this went on, nobody expected what was happening. That was crazy.”
In fact, the question, “Who Shot JR?” became a worldwide cultural sensation, with millions of fans offering differing theories as JR’s status as the show’s hated villain made everyone in the cast a suspect. Jacobs said Capice and Katzman immediately told him that the perpetrators were JR’s sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard, with whom he was having an affair and who was carrying JR’s child. But Jacobs said he wasn’t sure if they wouldn’t swap it out with another shooter before the show’s season four premiere aired.
He added, “A friend of mine called me from England and said, ‘You know they take bets here, so who did that?'” Jacobs said. “I said, ‘You know, I could tell you, but maybe they could have changed it. Maybe they even changed it on me!’”
In a piece for the “New York TimesDescribing Jacobs JR as “unexpectedly appealing,” Jacobs explained, “His uncompromising commitment to self-interest, his unabashed belief in the corruptibility of others linked him to a generation who would soon be told greed was okay and who would break it.” bumper stickers.” Jesus wanted people to get rich.”
Jacobs managed to work on two hugely successful shows at the same time, serving as a creative advisor on Dallas when Knots Landing was enjoying its own success. At the same time, he was working with his first wife’s second husband (John Pleshette played Richard in “Knots”) in what could be a plot from one of his own soap operas.
He explained, “I had a huge fight trying to get him on the show. It was just easier to be decent. The best and easiest way to make something happen is to not start an argument. John is very opinionated, just like Richard. Richard was definitely John.”
One day, the CBS exec who originally promoted Jacobs for “Knots Landing” pulled the show out of the drawer and suggested that Jacobs develop the series as a “Dallas” spin-off. The new show drew the Ewings’ son, Gary, and his family to suburban Los Angeles, though it kept the soap opera format at its core, complete with plenty of drama.
Jacobs explained“The one thing I learned from those two shows is that when the conflict is in the structure, you make your job a lot easier.” If the conflict isn’t in the structure, you have to create a conflict. And it’s very artificial.”
Jacobs was born on August 12, 1939 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father Melvin worked as a taxi driver, insurance agent and even in a lamp factory. With intentions of pursuing a career he would enjoy, Jacobs initially enrolled at the Maryland Institute College of Art with aspirations to be a painter.
When that didn’t work, he turned to writing. He wrote biographies for The Book of Knowledge before his first book was published in 1968; He has also worked for Esquire and The New York Times Magazine.
His other television credits have included Paradise, Family, Four Corners, and Dallas: The Early Years. He was also nominated for his work as a producer on Homefront.
Jacobs is survived by his wife Diana, whom he married in 1977; sons Aaron and Albyn; and his grandchildren Riley and Georgia.