May 24, 2008

Charles Gary Allison '60, '77

Publisher, Writer, Producer, Historian Passes

USC alumnus and cinema instructor Charles Gary Allison, a noted publisher, writer, producer and historian, who worked for both Democratic and Republican presidents and was an expert on the Olympics, died in Hollywood on May 13.

Born in 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island, Allison received his undergraduate degree in International Relations from USC in 1960 and returned to the university to earn dual master's degrees in Cinema Production and Professional Writing in 1976 and 1977, respectively.

In the 1960s Allison served in the U.S. Army, as a member of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, "The Old Guard," responsible for protecting the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. During this time, he founded the Heritage Cavaliers tour company and published a guidebook to the nation's capital. Allison also worked in the Kennedy and Nixon administrations developing, and chairing a non-partisan White House youth program called the Presidential Classroom for Young Americans.

In 1977, while a graduate student at USC, Allison wrote and produced Fraternity Row for which he won an LA Film Critics award. A year later, Allison helped found the Utah/US Film Festival with Robert Redford, which would later become the Sundance Film Festival.

Allison taught screenwriting at USC while writing and developing several film and television projects under contract to Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures Television. In 1984, he won the Writer's Guild of America award for outstanding screenplay for The First Olympics: Athens 1896. The NBC mini-series also won several Emmy awards that same year.

The success of The First Olympics  encouraged Allison to develop The Olympic Century, the official 25-volume history of the modern Olympic movement. The series was first published in 1996, in celebration of the first hundred years of the Olympic games. 

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at the Santa Clara Mission Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in the name of Charles Gary Allison be made to the USC School Of Cinematic Arts.