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'Brian's Song,' 'Roots,' 'Purple Rain' writer dies at 83

Blinn's daughter says he died Thursday of natural cases at an assisting living community in Burbank, California.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 11, 1977 file photo, Screenwriter William Blinn, left, Ed Asner, center, and David Greene pose with their Emmy statuettes at the annual Primetime Emmy Awards presentation in Los Angeles. William Blinn, a screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song”, “Roots” and the Prince film “Purple Rain,” has died, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. He was 83. (AP Photo/File)

LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES (AP) — An award-winning screenwriter for the landmark TV projects “Brian’s Song” and “Roots” has died. 

William Blinn was 83. 

Blinn's daughter says he died Thursday of natural cases at an assisting living community in Burbank, California. 

Blinn won Emmy and Peabody honors for the 1971 TV movie “Brian’s Song,” which dramatized the friendship of NFL players Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers. 

It was a hit when it aired and remains a favorite with sports fans and critics. 

Blinn’s work on “Roots,” the blockbuster 1977 miniseries adapted from Alex Haley’s book about his African American ancestors in slavery and freedom, won an Emmy and a Humanitas Prize. 

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