Richard Simmons, 80; Writer and Producer in Early Days of Television

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Richard Alan Simmons, 80, a writer and producer from the early days of television, died Nov. 13 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The cause of death was not announced, but he had been in failing health for some time.

Simmons was best-known for his Emmy-nominated teleplay "The Price of Tomatoes," which ran on actor Dick Powell's dramatic anthology series in the early 1960s.

Simmons also received an Emmy nomination for his work on "Columbo" in 1978.

A native of Toronto, Simmons served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. After the war, he graduated from the University of Toronto and then moved to California for a job with NBC radio, writing news and radio dramas.

He earned writing credits on a number of films, including Clark Gable's "The King and Four Queens" and Jane Russell's "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown."

Simmons turned his attention to television in the early 1960s. In addition to his writing credits, he was executive producer of the Peter Falk series "The Trials of O'Brien" and, in the late 1970s and 1980s, produced episodes of Falk's more famous series, "Columbo."

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