Michener Art Museum

John D. Hess

STAGE & SCREEN ARTIST, FICTION WRITER
BORN: April 17, 1918, Chicago, Illinois
DIED: April 15, 2004, Solebury Township, Pennsylvania


John D. Hess was a writer for television and a long time resident of Bucks County. Hess was born in Chicago in 1918 and received his post-graduate degree from Yale Drama School. Shortly after, he began his professional career as a staff writer for WGN radio in his hometown of Chicago.
His career was put on hold when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in July of 1942. He was honorably discharged as a captain in January 1946.
After his time served in the Army he wrote a live-broadcast television soap opera called "Love of Life" which successfully ran for 30 years. He also wrote other leading daytime soaps including "Secret Storm" and "General Hospital."
In addition to writing soap operas, Hess was involved in a number of plays including Broadway's "The Gray Eyed People" starring Walter Mattau with direction by Morton Da Costa.
As a devoted Bucks County resident, Hess was deeply involved with Mike Ellis'--a former classmate of Hess' at Dartmouth-- Bucks County Playhouse in the 1950s and 1960s where his plays; "A Perfect Frenzy," "The Facts of Life," and "The Better Mousetrap" premiered.
The remainder of his career was spent writing for major night-time television series including "MASH," "Alice," "One Day at a Time," and dramas; "Streets of San Francisco," "The Rockford Files," and "Ben Casey."