Updated: April 24, 2007
IRWIN ALLEN OBITUARY ARTICLE
Irwin Allen (June 12, 1916 ) was a television and film
producer nicknamed "The Master of Disaster" for his work in
the disaster film genre. He was also notable for creating a
number of memorable and popular television series.
Allen was born in New York City. In 1952, he won an Academy
Award for Best Documentary Feature for The Sea Around Us.
Allen's film credits include The Animal World (1956), the
critically-panned The Story of Mankind (1957), The Big Circus
(1959), The Lost World (1960), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
(1961), which later became the basis of his TV series of the
same name, and Five Weeks In a Balloon (1962).
In the 1960s Allen moved into television as a producer and was
responsible for series such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
(1964–1968), Lost in Space (1965–1968), The Time Tunnel
(1966–1967), Land of the Giants (1967–1970) and The Swiss
Family Robinson (1975–1976). There is also a movie, City
Beneath the Sea (1971), intended as a pilot for a new series,
using many of the props from Voyage. Allen's science-fiction
series became notorious for their inclusion of absurd science
and an emphasis on the juvenile 'sci-fi' element.
In the 1970s Allen returned to cinema screens and was the most
popular name associated with the decade's fad for the disaster
film genre. Allen produced the hugely successful The Poseidon
Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974), which he
also co-directed. He directed-produced The Swarm (1978), and
produced/directed Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) and
When Time Ran Out (1980).
In the late 1970s/1980s Allen sporadically returned to tv with
mini-series like The Return of Captain Nemo/The Amazing
Captain Nemo (1978) and a star-studded version of Alice in
Wonderland (1985). He was planning on making a star studded
musical version of Pinocchio, but a decline in health caused
an early retirement in 1986 after his last film made