William “Bill” Lansford of Playa del Rey, husband of Friends of the Ballona Wetlands founder Ruth Lansford, passed away May 22 from complications of prostate cancer. He was 90.
Lansford was an author and screenwriter who served as a United States Marine in World War II and later with the Army in the Korean War.
When his wife founded the environmental organization in 1978, Lansford attended many board meetings to support his wife and the cause of preserving the wetlands.
Ruth Lansford said her husband worked as a public information officer while in the armed services and later as a reporter with the Los Angeles Daily News.
“He composed many of the (Friends of the Ballona Wetlands) newsletters when we got started,” she recalled.
William Douglas Lansford was born in East Los Angeles, on July 13, 1922 as the son of Frank Alva Stone, a police officer, and Rosalina Melendez, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico.
In 1940 he joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in Iceland when Pearl Harbor was attacked the following year on Dec. 7, 1941. Lansford participated in the Midway, Guadalcanal and Bougainville campaigns, according to his family. He later landed on Iwo Jima, where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart.
During the Korean War, Lansford served as a military combat correspondent, covering numerous battles on various fronts and was promoted to first lieutenant.
Following his discharge from the Army, Lansford was hired as a story editor for Paramount Studios for the 1960s television western “Bonanza.” He later wrote for “Star Trek” “CHiPs,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Ironside,” and “Fantasy Island.”
“Villa Rides,” a 1986 film starring Yul Brynner, was based on a biography Lansford wrote, “Pancho Villa.”
His novel, “The Wind and the Ships,” will be published next month, according to his wife.
In 1957, he married Ruth Ketchum, a Long Island, NY native.
Lansford is survived by his wife and sons, William Jr. and Matthew, and grandchild Kekoa Lansford of Maui.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Eugene Obregòn Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, an organization working on the construction of a monument to pay tribute to all Medal of Honor winners, including 40 Latinos.
Information, www.obregoncmh.org.
There will be no funeral service, at the family’s request.