John Dunkel; Scriptwriter for TV Westerns
John Dunkel, 86, a writer for such television Western series as “Gunsmoke” and “Rawhide.” Born in Springfield, Ohio, and educated at Wittenberg University, Dunkel came to Southern California in the 1930s and worked at the Pasadena Playhouse. He was a writer for CBS radio before moving into television. Personally enamored of the Western genre, Dunkel hiked and camped throughout the Sierra and collected rare books about the West. During the 1950s and 1960s he contributed scripts for such series as “Big Valley,” “Bonanza,” “The Virginian” and “High Chaparral.” In 1956 and 1961 the Writers Guild of America nominated him for awards for episodes of the series “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide” and “Broken Arrow.” In 1960 and 1961, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City gave Dunkel its Western Heritage Award for episodes of “Rawhide.” In retirement, he was commodore of the Santa Monica Yacht Club. On Feb. 22 in Los Angeles of a heart attack.