George Clayton Johnson, the legendary science-fiction writer who wrote the first ‘‘Star Trek’’ television episode and several classic stories for the popular 1960s TV show ‘‘The Twilight Zone,’’ died on Christmas Day. He was 86.
Johnson’s passing on Christmas Day was confirmed by his son Paul. He had been diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancer.
“Please emphasize how much he loved his fans, and judging by the overwhelming response I’ve received, from hundreds of people, known and unknown, he made quite an impact on them,” Paul told The AP.
Johnson penned the first episode of Star Trek for NBC and also wrote a number of popular stories for The Twilight Zone, cementing his status among sci-fi fans.
In 1967, Johnson wrote the dystopian novel Logan’s Run with close friend William F Nolan. The book was turned into a film in 1976, starring Michael York, Jenny Agutter and Farrah Fawcett.
He also co-wrote the story treatment on which Ocean’s Eleven – both the ’60s Rat Pack original and the 2001 remake – was based.
Johnson served in the US Army for three years in the late 1940s, and worked as a draftsman prior to becoming a full-time writer. During the late 1950s, he was co-owner of the famed counterculture coffee house Cafe Frankenstein in Laguna Beach.
Johnson’s further TV writing credits included Honey West, Kung Fu and Route 66. He also made cameos in a number of films – his last playing Father Time in 2013 fantasy movie Saint Bernard.
He is survived by son Paul, daughter Judy and Lola, his wife of 62 years who he married just two weeks after they met.
Marlene R. Hinojosa