Mike Gray, 'China Syndrome' Writer Passes at 77


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
Multi-talented producer/writer Mike Gray passed away in Los Angeles on April 30, 2013. While Gray's name might not be a household name, he's been associated with projects that most will have memories of, especially the 1979 theatrical success, The China Syndrome for which he co-wrote the teleplay.

View attachment 2313 Released in an era when the United States had several active nuclear power plants and the prospect for more to be added throughout the country, The China Syndrome presented the case that the risk associated with them was huge. Jack Lemmon portrayed a worker in one nuclear plant who initially was a huge supporter of the facility. Jane Fonda was a reporter usually assigned to fluff stories who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Michael Douglas was her cameraman. The three unite when a meltdown occurs inside the plant. What follows is as much cloak and dagger as anything, but the threat was well portrayed.

In fact, just days after the movie's release, a real nuclear plant, Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, did suffer a partial meltdown. The one-two punch of fiction and reality forever changed the nuclear industry in the country. Gray's script was nominated for an Oscar.

With a career that began with TV commercials, Gray also produced several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, including the intriguing "Elementary, Dear Data" show. He also produced, directed, and wrote the Starman TV series. His last project is the 2013 documentary, Four Days in Chicago, for which he did some camera work.

From Indiana, the 77-year-old Gray died in his home of heart failure. He leaves behind a wife and son.