Top television writer-producer Zack Estrin, known for his work as executive producer/showrunner of Lost In Space and co-executive producer on Prison Break, passed away suddenly Sept. 23 in Hermosa Beach. He was 51. Estrin, who was in good health, died of suspected cardiac arrest after collapsing while jogging on the beach. The exact cause of death is unknown pending autopsy.
“Zack Estrin was our everything,” his family said in a statement. “The best husband, father, son and friend. He loved to make everyone happy. He loved to make everyone laugh. He loved being a writer/producer and being a part of creating these shows that people enjoyed. But above all, he loved his family and friends. Thank you all for being a part of his life and ours.”
Born in Woodland, California, and raised in Brooklyn, Nnew York, Estrin graduated from USC and began his entertainment career in features as a producer on films such as Stranger Than Fiction and O, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare Othello. He then made the transition to television, launching a writing career that would take him to the top of the showrunner ranks. His early credits included hits Charmed and Dawson’s Creek as well as cult favorite Tru Calling.
Estrin, who was well liked and respected by his peers, went on to become co-executive producer of Fox’s popular, award-winning drama series Prison Break. He served as executive producer and showrunner on ABC’s paranormal thrillers The River and The Whispers, as well as co-creator and executive producer of the network’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Most notably, Estrin served as executive producer and showrunner on Netflix’s reimagining of the sci-fi family adventure Lost in Space.
“Zack was our client for nearly 25 years,” WME President Ari Greenburg said in a statement. “He had a tremendously successful career and mentored so many writers. We are so proud of all his accomplishments and feel blessed to have called him a friend.”
At the time of his death, Estrin was developing new projects under his overall deal at Netflix.
“Zack was a beloved writer, producer, and partner, whose work taught us to seek adventure and trust in family. His vision and passion will be greatly missed,” Matt Thunell, Netflix VP of series, who worked closely with Estrin, said in a statement.
Estrin is survived by his wife Kari Estrin, daughters Charlotte Estrin and Chloe Estrin, his dogs Molly and Lt. Judy Hopps, and the rest of his incredible family: mother Patricia Estrin, father Jonathan Estrin, sister Amelia Burstyn, stepbrother Dylan Arrants, and stepsisters Julie List and Laura Humphrey.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Zack Estrin USC Scholarship Fund. Checks can be sent c/o PNG LLC 11400 W. Olympic Blvd. suite 590 Los Angeles, CA 90064.