Saying that he and his terminally ill wife "cannot imagine life apart," screen and television writer Howard Dimsdale and his wife of 30 years have committed suicide.
Friends said this week that their bodies were found in their Hollywood Hills home on Aug. 27. They had taken an overdose of pills.
Dimsdale, who was blacklisted for 20 years in the 1950s and '60s after being identified as a Communist sympathizer, was 78. Dorothy Dimsdale was in her early 60s, friends said.
She had been suffering from Wegener's granulomatosis, a rare and debilitating disease believed to be caused when the body attacks its own tissues.
"Dorothy has this really rotten disease," Dimsdale wrote in a letter to their two children and two grandchildren. "Treatment by chemotherapy is about as rotten as the disease. . . . At our age the road from here only goes downhill. . . . We got to this point together and we'll go together."
Dimsdale's first screen credit was in 1942, for a long-forgotten Monogram picture. He moved to Universal for "Babes on Swing Street" and "Penthouse Serenade," did "Somewhere in the Night" for 20th Century Fox and some of the Corliss Archer and Andy Hardy comedies after World War II.
But after he was identified as a Communist sympathizer by a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1950, his credits disappeared.
Friends said he continued to work under pseudonyms.
He returned to writing under his own name in 1971, primarily for episodic television, and had several screen credits for such popular series as "Medical Center," "Executive Suite" and "Cannon."