True Boardman, 94; Child Actor, Scriptwriter

From a Times Staff Writer

True Eames Boardman, a child actor who became a radio and television writer and an early broadcaster for Armed Forces Radio Service, has died. He was 94.

Boardman died Monday in Pebble Beach, Calif., after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

A native of Seattle, Boardman was the only child of actress Virginia Eames and action-adventure star True Boardman.

By age 10, he had appeared in six movies.


Relatives said that in his later years he was fond of saying that he was probably the only person alive who, as a youngster, worked in films with both Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.

Boardman earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature and Spanish in 1934 from UCLA and a master’s in theater 36 years later from Occidental College.

After finishing at UCLA, he found work as a radio writer, contributing scripts to such programs as Silver Theater, Screen Guild Theater and Lux Radio Theater.

Boardman later made the transition to television, writing for shows such as “Perry Mason,” “The Virginian,” “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.”


At the outbreak of World War II, he was commissioned a captain in the Army and assigned to create radio programming for American troops.

Stationed in Puerto Rico, Boardman broadcast recordings of major radio network shows for a different hour each night on the island’s three radio stations.

“When the first hour ended, I signed off with, ‘This program was brought to you by the special Armed Forces Radio Service’ and, as far as I know, that was the first time those particular words were said over the air,” Boardman told the Washington Times several years ago.

An active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for many years, Boardman served as chairman of its documentary committee.


He was also involved with the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America.

In 1993, the Writers Guild presented him with its Valentine Davies Award for lifetime achievement.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Gilmour Boardman; two daughters; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Road, Carmel, Calif.