David Wolper, producer of the celebrated miniseries Roots, has died of congestive heart disease and complications of Parkinson's disease, according to The Associated Press. He was 82.
Wolper is perhaps best known for his work on the 1977 ABC miniseries that followed Kunta Kinte, an African boy captured and sold into slavery in America. Roots, starring LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett Jr., received 36 Emmy nominations, winning nine, along with a Golden Globe and Peabody Award. Wolper produced a special for NBC in 2002, marking the miniseries' 25th anniversary.
Catching up with the Roots cast
Wolper directed the 1959 documentary The Race for Space, which was nominated for an Academy Award. The 1971 film The Hellstrom Chronicle — about the possibility of insects taking over the world — was executive-produced by Wolper and won the Oscar for documentaries.
Wolper was also attached to such documentaries as Biography, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Appointment with Destiny, This is Elvis, Four Days in November and Imagine: John Lennon.
Among his other projects, he produced The Thorn Birds, North and South for television and the feature films Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and L.A. Confidential.
Wolper is survived by his wife, Gloria, three children from a previous marriage, and 10 grandchildren.