Thursday, April 01, 2010
TV Writer David Mills Memorialized On Set
(AP) David Mills, a veteran television writer who worked on the award-winning series "ER" and "The Wire," died after collapsing on the set of his latest production. He was 48.
Mills died Tuesday night in New Orleans, said HBO spokesman Diego Aldana. Doctors at Tulane Medical Center said he suffered a brain aneurism, according to a statement Wednesday from Mills' latest production, "Treme."
Mills was on the set of the new HBO series as it filmed a scene at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter when he was stricken and rushed to the hospital, where he died without regaining consciousness, the statement said.
"He was an enormous talent," said David Simon, a co-executive producer with Mills who first met the award-winning writer in the newsroom of their college newspaper. "He loved words and he loved an argument but not in any angry or mean-spirited way. He loved to argue ideas. He delighted in it, and he was confident that something smarter and deeper always came from a good argument."
Mills was living in New Orleans while working as a writer and executive producer of the drama set in the post-Katrina city and slated to premiere on April 11.
Wendell Pierce, who played Detective William "Bunk" Moreland on "The Wire," and plays a musician in "Treme," said Mills collapsed on the set Tuesday.
"He was carrying on a conversation and just fell over," Pierce said. "They called the medics, but there was nothing to be done."
"Treme" is named after the Creole neighborhood known for its rich musical history.
"I'm so sorry he won't be able to see the launch of the show he cared so much about," Pierce said.
HBO said in a statement that the network is "deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our dear friend and colleague."
"He was a gracious and humble man, and will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him, as well as those who were aware of his immense talent. David has left us too soon but his brilliant work will live on."
"Treme" cast and crew members held a memorial for Mills on the set Wednesday morning, Pierce said.
"He was very quiet and introverted, but spoke volumes when he wrote," Pierce said of Mills. "He challenged us as actors and he challenged Americans when it came to matters of race. He was one of the more talented people working in TV. He made it much more than just empty entertainment."
Mills began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post, before turning to screenwriting. Besides "ER" and "The Wire," he worked on the HBO drama "The Corner," ''Homicide: Life on the Street," ''NYPD Blue" and was executive producer and writer of the short-lived NBC miniseries "Kingpin," about a Mexican drug cartel.
Mills started his television writing career with Simon, a longtime friend and "Wire" creator, in 1994. The pair wrote an episode of "Homicide" that year, for which they won a Writers Guild of America award. Mills won Emmys for co-writing and executive producing the miniseries "The Corner" and an Edgar in 2007 for "The Wire."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
Mills died in New Orleans, where he had been working on an upcoming HBO series called 'Treme,' about the city after Katrina. He and David Simon won Emmys for 'The Corner' in 2000.
By Yvonne Villarreal
April 1, 2010
David Mills, a former journalist and Emmy-winning television writer best known for his work on "NYPD Blue" and "The Wire," has died. He was 48.
Mills died Tuesday of an apparent brain aneurysm in New Orleans, where he had been working on the upcoming HBO series “Treme,” the network said Wednesday in a statement.
According to a production release, Mills died at a hospital after he collapsed on the set of the post-Hurricane Katrina drama during filming of a scene at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter.
"He was an enormous talent," David Simon, a friend and co-executive producer with Mills on "Treme," said in a statement. "He loved words and he loved an argument -- but not in any angry or mean-spirited way. He loved to argue ideas. He delighted in it, and he was confident that something smarter and deeper always came from a good argument."
"Treme," which Mills also co-wrote, is due to premiere April 11. Mills started writing for television in 1993 with an episode of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," spawned by the book written by Simon. The friends teamed up again on the HBO mini-series "The Corner," about Baltimore's drug-plagued neighborhoods, which picked up three Emmys in 2000.
Mills continued his HBO relationship when he wrote an episode for Season 4 of "The Wire" (titled "Soft Eyes") and later returned as a writer for the fifth and final season, a stint that earned him a Writer's Guild of America nomination for Best Dramatic Series in 2009.
His other notable TV credits include writing stints on the hospital drama "ER" and "Picket Fences." He also wrote nine episodes for "NYPD Blue" between 1995 and 1997. And he spent time developing his own shows, although only the short-lived NBC series "Kingpin," about a Mexican drug cartel, made it to air.
Born Nov. 20, 1961, in Washington, D.C., Mills grew up in the northeast section of the city and often explored the dynamics of race, politics and culture in his writing -- whether fiction or nonfiction. Mills, a University of Maryland graduate, started on the path to TV writing with news writing.
He interned for the Wall Street Journal before becoming a reporter for the Washington Times. Then in the early '90s he worked as a features writer for the Washington Post.
It was this news background that played a key role in his storytelling.
"He was very big about the importance of having strong characters," said Elyce Strong, a TV writer who was Mills' assistant for a few years. "And current events played a big role with that. He always said truth and real events made the best stories. Tons of research went into the stuff he wrote. He wanted to keep things honest and as accurate as possible. That was his way. The only way."
And it was the written word he clung to. On his blog , Mills wrote about his affinity for George Clinton and 1970s funk music, among other random musings on TV, movies and social issues.
Mills, who had been living in Glendale, is survived by two sisters, Blanche Carroll of Peoria, Ariz., and Gloria Johnson of Charlotte, N.C.; and a brother, Franklin Mills, of Washington.
Services are pending in Washington.
Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times
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