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Monday, August 13, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Charles Warren, Creator Of TV Westerns

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES - Charles Marquis Warren, a novelist and film scenarist whose fascination with frontier lore helped bring such adult Westerns as ``Gunsmoke,'' ``Rawhide'' and ``The Virginian'' to television screens, died Saturday evening at 77.

Nick Beck said that his longtime friend had died at a Los Angeles hospital after undergoing surgery for an aneurysm.

A producer and director who as a writer considered himself the author of dramatic histories rather than a teller of Western tales, Warren's talents spanned the entire range of things theatrical.

Warren at first had limited success in film writing and turned to magazines.

He sold more than 250 articles of pulp fiction and became a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post.

Three of his Post serials, ``Only the Valiant,'' ``Bugles Are for Soldiers'' and ``Valley of the Shadow,'' became best-selling novels. ``Valiant,'' which tells of a cavalry officer's battles in the Indian wars, was made into a 1950 film starring Gregory Peck.

When World War II began, Warren joined the Navy, where he served in the Photo Science Laboratory, filming amphibious landings. He was wounded by a Japanese grenade in the South Pacific in 1944, and received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and five battle stars.

Warren rose to the rank of commander and after the war returned to Hollywood as a writer and, eventually, director. His credits included ``Beyond Glory,'' ``Streets of Laredo,'' ``Springfield Rifle,'' ``Pony Express'' and ``Seven Angry Men.''

He was asked to craft the pilot production of ``Gunsmoke'' for CBS, and in 1955 he began to produce the classic TV series. In 1959, he created ``Rawhide,'' finding an unknown actor named Clint Eastwood to portray Rowdy Yates. Three years later, he began what became the nine-year saga of ``The Virginian.''

Survivors include his wife, Mildred, three daughters from his first marriage, four grandchildren and a nephew.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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