Prolific freelance writer, director, producer, composer and lyricist Edward J. Lakso, a former Santa Monica resident, has died. He was 76.
Lakso passed away of complications of Parkinson’s disease May 23rd, said his wife, The Rev. Lee Lakso, minister of Unity West Fellowship in Santa Monica.
Lakso’s credits include writing and/or producing 24 episodes of “Charlie’s Angels”, “COMBAT!”, “The Rockford Files,” “Star Trek,” “Adventures In Paradise,” “Mission:Impossible” and “Perry Mason.”
Lakso served in the U.S. Air Force, and while stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, he and orchestra leader Tommy Oliver wrote an original musical.
Years later Lakso and Oliver paired again to write, produce and direct “Watergate: A Musical,” starring Gene Barry as Richard Nixon, for the Alliance Theater in Atlanta on the tenth anniversary of the break-in.
Lakso’s talent was apparent from his time at UCLA, where he sang opera and played jazz piano, his family said.
He was mentored by the likes of Gene Levitt, E. Jack Neumann and Aaron Spelling, singularly creating over 400 hours of television. His film career gained momentum with “The Immoral Mr. Teas,” and he later wrote and directed “Boots Turner,” a film for producer Fred Williams.
As a multi engine, instrument-rated pilot, Lakso often flew himself to locations.
Lakso also wrote theatrical musicals, added original songs and music to many films and television shows, including “Dr. Kildare,” and “Charlie’s Angels.”
Lakso is survived by his wife, the former Lee Travis, two daughters, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren, a sister, two brothers and many beloved nieces and nephews.