Richard Setlowe, writer of novels and variations, dies at age 89

Richard Setlowe, writer of novels and variations, dies at age 89

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Richard Setlowe, a longtime entertainment journalist who switched from his… Variety job to become a network executive and later a prolific novelist, died August 25 at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City, California after prolonged health problems. He was 89.

Setlowe worked as a writer and editor for the San Francisco Examiner and contributed to Time, Life and TV Guide. He also wrote for Variety on film, music and drama, from 1962 to 1998. He was VarietyBay Area correspondent for several years and became a full-time staffer in September 1969, including a stint as a feature film critic.

He left journalism to become vice president of creative affairs at ABC Pictures in March 1971.

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Setlowe was born in New York on April 21, 1933 and grew up there and in Tennessee. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where he was a running back on the soccer team. He transferred to USC on a naval scholarship and earned a BS in social studies. After graduating with a commission as a naval officer, he volunteered for the naval flying school and was later assigned as a naval officer aboard the aircraft carrier Midway. His first novel, “The Brink,” focused on the Midway’s role in the Taiwan Strait crisis, which nearly erupted into nuclear war.

He wrote four more novels, “The Experiment,” “The Haunting of Susana Blackwell,” “The Black Sea,” and “The Sexual Occupation of Japan.” He taught writing at UCLA and received a Masters of Professional Writing from USC at age 74.

He also enjoyed his pursuits as a private pilot, diver, tennis player and snow skier. His wife of 50 years, Beverly Setlowe, died in 2012. He leaves behind sons David Higgs and Chris Balaam and grandchildren Chase Higgs, Hailey Holfelder, Adam Balaam, Eric Balaam, great-grandson Luca Holfelder and niece Kimberly Setlowe.

A private celebration of his life will be held at Beyond Baroque Theater in Venice, California, on September 18 at 1:00 PM. Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.

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