The Robert Van Scoyk Papers consists mainly of produced television scripts, treatments, and ideas for produced and unproduced
TV shows. Some of the popular shows include Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, The Imogene Coca Show, and The Virginian. This collection
also includes scrapbooks as well as photos, correspondence, illustrations, and song lyrics of personal and professional nature.
Robert Elseworth Van Scoyk was born on January 13, 1928 in Dayton, Ohio to Robert Van Scoyk and Gertrude Wardlow. Van Scoyk
began writing for local radio in Dayton and joined the Army Air Force during the last months of World War II. After the war,
he moved to New York to attend Columbia and New York University. He married Patricia Schauder and they had two sons. She died
in 1971 at the age of 42 and Van Scoyk later married Leona Plotkin.
Van Scoyk started in New York as a page for NBC, originally with the goal of writing for radio. While he was working as a
page he wrote a column about being a struggling writer in the Dayton Daily News, which got him noticed as a writer. His time
at NBC began during the Golden Age of television, and his first writing credit was with his partner Allan Manings for the
Imogene Coca Show, a successor to Your Show of Shows. Van Scoyk worked on TV shows U.S. Steel Hour, Kraft Theater, Armstrong
Circle Theater, The Ann Sothern Show, Ellery Queen, and Columbo among others. He also had a story published in The Best American
Short Stories 1958 and wrote sketches for a 1956 Broadway show called The Littlest Revue. He moved to Los Angeles in the late
1960’s to write for The Virginian. Van Scoyk won an Edgar Allan Poe Award, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America, in 1979
for an episode of Columbo entitled “Murder Under Glass.” Besides Columbo, Van Scoyk is best known for writing and producing
episodes of the mystery show Murder, She Wrote during the 1980s and 1990s and was profiled about his work on this show for
the book “Successful Scriptwriting.”
Van Scoyk died on August 26, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA at age 74, from complications of diabetes. He was survived by his wife
of thirty years, Leona Plotkin Van Scoyk; three sons (Robert Van Scoyk, Andy Van Scoyk, and Matt Tyrnauer); his father Robert;
and his sister, Lois Harley.