William Link

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William Link

Born

12/15/1933, Philadelphia, PA

Birth Name

Gender

Male
10
out of 10
User Rating
2 votes

Biography

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William Link is one of television's most famous writers and producers. Along with his writing partner Richard Levinson, Link created some of TV's most memorable detectives. Jessica Fletcher, Joe Mannix, and Lt. Columbo all sprang from their fertile imaginations. The two began their collaborations as students at the…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In 2007, William Link's original play "Columbo Takes The Rap" began preparations for an American tour in advance of a Broadway premiere in 2008.

    • In the Columbo episode "Murder By the Book," the mystery writing team of Franklin and Ferris is a reference to Richard Levinson and William Link. In fact, when preparing to play a scene as mystery writer-turned-murderer Ken Franklin, Jack Cassidy would ask aloud to anyone within earshot, "Who am I playing in this scene, Levinson or Link?"

    • In 2007, William Link was interviewed on the bonus featurettes for the Season 5 and 6 DVD releases of Murder, She Wrote.

    • William Link served as supervising executive producer of The ABC Mystery Movie in the late 1980s. This series aired the initial new episodes of Columbo as well as the short-lived B.L. Stryker and Gideon Oliver.

    • William Link has been a frequent contributor to many mystery magazines including Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

    • William Link created and developed The Cosby Mysteries at the request of Bill Cosby, who wanted a series with a "New York state of mind -- but clean-looking, not that grim, living-on-the-edge sort of feel" a show that would "never have people being blown up."

    • In 1989, William Link received a special Ellery Queen Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his lifetime contribution to the mystery genre. He shared this honor with his late partner.

    • William Link based the 1991 TV movie The Boys on his life and partnership with Richard Levinson. In it, a long-time writing duo comes to terms with the diagnosis of terminal lung cancer that one man receives. Levinson died of lung cancer in 1989.

    • In The Cosby Mysteries, Bill Cosby insisted on casting William Link as Guy Hanks' clarinet instructor. He played the character in several episodes.

    • William Link also draws cartoons, mostly for friends, though a few have been exhibited.

    • William Link has won two Emmy awards.

    • William Link has won three Edgar Allan Poe Awards (Best Television Feature or Miniseries - 1980, 1983, 1986).

    • Along with Richard Levinson, William Link was nominated for the 1983 Tony Award for Best Book (Musical) Merlin.

    • In November 1995, he and writing partner Richard Levinson were jointly elected to the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

  • Quotes

    • William Link: Today's crime rate is the highest in history. People want to see some sort of control, and you get that with fiction. On TV, the heavies are always caught.

    • William Link: We produce for two reasons. One is to protect the material. And the second is that we've discovered that producing is an extension of writing. The day before they're going to shoot it you walk on a set designed for a character you've written. You say to the art director, "The man we've written would not have these paintings. He would not have that dreadful objet d'art sitting there. It's much too cluttered for a guy of his sensibilities. So clean out the set." We created that person as a character. We're also interested in how it's extended.

    • William Link: The best things come to you--they fall into your hand or you see a human life situation like That Certain Summer and you say that would make a good drama. It's hard to begin by saying "Let's do a social drama." These things just occur to you.

    • William Link: (from a New York Times interview about his writing) My father was a textile worker in Philadelphia; I have no idea why I have a mind like this. I once had a perfect way of getting rid of my wife, and I checked it out with the Los Angeles coroner. He said: "That will work. But if she dies, you're going to be my first suspect." I've never used it in a story. I might use it yet. It involved a garbage disposal.

    • William Link: (Remembering his late writing partner, Richard Levinson) We weren't collaborators. We were brothers.

    • William Link: Eventually if the business retires us - and you don't retire from this industry, it retires you - Dick has told me about a novel he would like to write, and maybe I'd try my hand at some short stories or a novel. But if a collaboration has worked for 38 years, why rock the boat? In this medium, which is such a pressure cooker, it helps to have two people against them. When the executives tell us that we're wrong, we can always agree with each other.

    • William Link: (describing the appeal of Columbo) It portrayed a bloodless murder followed by a cat and mouse game. Columbo was a meat-and-potatoes cop who brought low the rich and famous.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Along with Richard Levinson, he has given us some of TV's best mysteries and dramas, and two of television's most famous sleuths: Jessica Fletcher and Lt. Columbo.

    10
    William Link is a TV legend and (as an aspiring mystery writer) one of my idols. In a career that has spanned almost 50 years, he and writing/producing partner Richard Levinson have left a huge legacy of TV films and series, most of them iconic mysteries.



    Arguably, their most famous creations are Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote), Joe Mannix and Lt. Columbo, but they were among the first writers to tackle serious subjects like homosexuality and discrimination in TV. Their works addressed big issues that were (and are) difficult to talk about, and brought them to the forefront.



    Mr. Link appears to have retired from writing, but his work will be remembered and enjoyed by mystery and drama fans for years to come.moreless