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Robert and Phyllis White Papers
WGF-MS-080  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Robert and Phyllis White Collection contains mostly television scripts written by the couple as a team and solo works by Robert White. A small amount of correspondence related to their involvement in labor organizing for TV writers is included. Additionally, this collection consists of radio and television scripts written by Phyllis White's first husband Shelby Gordon.
Background
Robert White was born on April 7th, 1924 in Bakersfield, CA. After four years serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, he majored in theater arts at Los Angeles City College. While in college, Robert sold his first scripts for radio and moved on to writing for television in the 1950s. At the start of his career, Robert White wrote for a variety of television comedy shows including “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show” and “The Real McCoys.” Phyllis White (neé Kremer) was born June 5th,1923 in South Dakota on a reservation. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1944 she moved to Chicago to become a writer. Phyllis’s start came at a CBS owned radio station where she would sometimes serve as a photographer for football games. Phyllis married fellow radio writer and producer Shelby Gordon (1919-1959) in 1948. She was involved in the Radio Writers Guild and was elected to the Chicago council in 1947 and appointed midwest Executive Secretary in 1949. Shelby Gordon was a radio and TV writer. He was one of the founding leaders of the Television Writers Association. Some of his final TV credits were the documentary series’ Adventure and Air Power. He passed away on November 4th, 1959. Phyllis and Robert White married in 1960. Together they wrote for a wide variety of television shows which included westerns, dramas, comedies, soap operas and animation. As a team their credits included Death Valley days, My Favorite Martian, The Bold Ones, Ironside, Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, He-Man, She-Ra and many others. The couple earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for their work on Guiding Light and Writers Guild of America Awards for Guiding Light and Search for Tomorrow. Robert and Phyllis were both strong union supporters during their careers. Robert White served as Secretary-Treasurer of the WGA TV-Radio branch from 1971-1973 and was active on many committees during his time in the WGA. Phyllis White served on the WGA Board from 1974-1977 and served as Vice President of the WGA from 1977-1979. Before joining the Writers Guild of America at its reorganization in 1954, Robert and Phyllis were active in the television writer unionization efforts of the short lived Television Writers of America during the early 1950s in Hollywood. Despite an NLRB election in its favor in 1953, the group faltered and dissolved in 1954. After retiring from television, the couple wrote travel guides until Phyllis’s death on July 7th, 2002 from a stroke. Robert White passed away on June 17th, 2011.
Extent
4 linear feet; 283 MB
Restrictions
The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.
Availability
Available by appointment only.