Screenwriter Rudolph Borchert dies


Rudolph Borchert, a well-known screenwriter, died at his Malibu home on Saturday, March 29. He was 75.

Borchert was born in Cleveland on March 27, 1928. During the Korean Conflict he served as a first lieutenant in a tank battalion, and received a bronze star for bravery in rescuing one of his troops. Even before that time, he had aspirations as a writer, and periodically published short stories and articles as opportunities arose. One notable nonscreen work that he did was a children’s book, “Bravo, Burro!” that was coauthored with his Malibu neighbor John Fante, published in 1970.

But his main passion was for screenplays. He had some success writing scripts for feature films such as “The Little Dragons” in 1980, and television movies, but his mainstay successes were in the realm of weekly television shows including “The Rockford Files,” “Kolchak the “Nightstalker,” “Police Woman,” “Quincy, ME,” “Chips,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Tenspeed and Brownshoe,” “T. J. Hooker” and “The Scarecrow and Mrs. King.”

He was celebrated for his ability to pitch new stories and to remember old ones. He was sought after as a “fixer” and an emergency man, able to compose a completely new script when the need arose, in 24 hours. At one point, he had more credits to his name than any other working writer. He knew what sold, but was always trying to raise writing standards. He researched his stories meticulously, wanting his viewers to learn something new and substantial as well as be entertained.

Borchert married Pamela Byrne of Sydney, Australia in 1961, and they lived in Malibu from 1962 onward. He is survived by his wife and two children, Brent and Bettina (Timothy) Ball, and two grandchildren, Dakota and Eli Ball. His older son, Brandon, died in 1986. Funeral services will be at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5.