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Leonard Katzman

The longtime executive producer of ''Dallas,'' Mr. Katzman also directed and wrote one-third of the episodes that he produced. The show, on CBS in prime time, focused largely on a fictional Texas oil family, the Ewings, and was spiced with sex, intrigue and power-wielding.

''Dallas'' made its debut in 1978. Its Nov. 21, 1980, episode, revealing the solution to the mystery of who had shot the dastardly J. R. Ewing, was the most widely watched single program in television history until then. ''Dallas'' came in first in the seasonal ratings for the 1980-81 television season, the second dramatic series to achieve that success, after ''Marcus Welby, M.D.'' But its ratings began to decline in the 1985-85 season, and it ended in 1991.

Musing about the dozen years of ''Dallas'' in its final season, Mr. Katzman disclaimed any profound significance. ''All we were ever trying to do was entertain the audience,'' he said. ''There never was any real deep meaning to it. We weren't trying to do a documentary every week.''

The show's vitality became apparent early in its history. In 1979, one reviewer called it a ''prime-time soap opera'' and added: ''The Ewing family has enough problems collectively to supply the plots for a dozen daytime dramas. Somehow it works.''

Mr. Katzman also worked on other successful shows like ''Gunsmoke,'' ''The Wild, Wild West'' and ''Hawaii Five-O.''

A native New Yorker, he began to work -- under his uncle Sam Katzman, a producer -- on movie serials like ''Superman,'' and he made his entry into television producion with the CBS adventure series ''Route 66,'' which ran from 1960 through 1964.

In addition to his son Mitchell, Mr. Katzman is survived by his wife, LaRue; another son, Frank, and six grandchildren. A daughter, Sherril Lynn Rettino, an actress who played the role of Jackie Dugan on ''Dallas,'' died in 1995.

 


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