15 September 2009 1:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

George Eckstein, a TV producer and writer who co-wrote the two-part finale of ABC series "The Fugitive" that captivated the nation in 1967, died Sept. 12 of lung cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.

In a career that spanned nearly three decades, Eckstein also produced "Duel," the 1971 ABC telefilm directed by a 24-year-old Steven Spielberg. "Duel" starred Dennis Weaver as a motorist terrorized by a mysterious, unseen truck driver.

"George hired me to direct his ABC Movie of the Week, 'Duel,' and my career was never the same," Spielberg said. "I owe so much to him for having the courage to hire a kid to do a man's job. George had passion for telling highly original stories and was a wonderful mentor to me and so many others. I will miss his quiet dignity."

Eckstein was nominated for Emmys for his work as a producer on late »

- By Mike Barnes

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