John Furia, Jr. (1929 – 2009) was a past president of the Writers Guild of America West and a former National Chairman of the Writers Guild of America. He was also president and later vice-president of the Writers Guild Foundation. He was the Founding Chair of the Division of Writing at the University of Southern California’s renowned School of Cinema-Television and a full Professor teaching writing for screen and television.
As a freelance writer, and then creator and writer/producer, he worked for most major studios, and the four networks. Among the MOWs Furia wrote and/or produced are The Death of Ocean View Park W/P, The Healers, Caring and The Widow. Anthologies and series he wrote and/or produced include The Twilight Zone, Chrysler Theater, The Prudential Specials, The Waltons, Hawaii 5-0, and Bonanza plus pilots for Hotel, The Blue Knight, 240 Robert and Tom Sawyer. With Barry Oringer he wrote the pilot for the long running series, Hotel and the 6-hour mini-series, Crisis: America and Iran. He made films as Executive Producer in Mexico, France, Canada, Spain, Croatia and Kenya.
Furia was the Producer/Showrunner for Kung FU (series), John O’Hara’s Gibbsville (series), Sweepstakes (series), The Dirty Dozen (series), and nearly 100 dramas for the public service series Insight, (Enigma in Spanish speaking countries) winner of multiple Emmy nominations, the Cine Award, etc. His feature credits included The Singing Nun starring Debbie Reynolds and Greer Garson, and A Change of Habit starring Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore.
As president of his own company, he wrote and/or produced the pilot Power Play (CBS), MOWs My Mother’s Secret Life (ABC), Going To The Chapel (NBC), The Intruder Within (ABC); and the award winning film about starvation in Ethiopia starring Ted Danson and Ally Sheedy, We Are The Children (ABC) as well as the mini series Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Rage of Angels.
Furia was a long-time Vice President of the Executive Committee and member of the Board of Trustees of the Humanitas Prize; member of the Board of Advisors of The National Captioning Institute and a member of the Board of Governors of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities.
While President of the Writers Guild Foundation he was instrumental in setting up the Foundation’s Visiting Writer Program, the High School Workshop program and many other educational initiatives.