Prolific TV producer, Zack Estrin, who most recently rebooted the ’60s science fiction show Lost in Space for Netflix, has passed away at the age of fifty-one. Estrin‘s sudden death has sent shock waves through Hollywood, as the ace producer and screenwriter was apparently in good health before his passing.
According to reports, Estrin is believed to have passed away from a suspected heart attack after he passed away suddenly while going for a routine jog on Hermosa Beach, California. This is, however, speculative, as an autopsy will be carried out to confirm the actual cause of death. The sad incident occurred on Friday, September 23, and his grieving family has confirmed his passing in a statement that reads;
“Zack Estrin was our everything. 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.”
His longtime talent agency WME has also confirmed the writer-producer’s death. “Zack was our client for nearly 25 years,” said WME President, Ari Greenburg. “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.”
Born in Woodland, California but raised in Brooklyn, New York, Estrin would return to the Golden State to study at the University of Southern California. After his college graduation, Estrin dived straight into the entertainment industry as a producer. Starting out with films, Estrin‘s early credits came in the form of comedy-thriller Stranger Than Fiction, and O, a modern remake of Williams Shakespeare‘s classic tragedy, Othello. Estrin would then transition to producing for the small screen, starting out as a screenwriter. His wit and brilliance saw him contribute to the success of shows such as Charmed, Dawson’s Creek and Tru Calling, many of which grew to cult status.
Up next was the Fox show Prison Break, which became one of the most popular prime time TV shows of its time. He wrote and produced the show before being upped to co-executive producer alongside Matt Olmstead and Dawn Parouse. Until his untimely death, Estrin was working alongside Olmstead to revive the series with plans to begin with a spin-off titled Prison Break: Cherry Hill. Estrin was a big part of Prison Break‘s success, his colleague Olmstead recalls in his tribute, describing him as “an amazing writer, equally gifted with dialogue and structure.”
“What made him a great showrunner is that he attracted the right people. Writers wanted to work with him and give him their best. Executives liked him as much as writers assistants. He was a unifier,” Olmstead said.
More recently, Estrin was known for serving as the showrunner and executive producer for Netflix‘s Lost in Space, which ran for three seasons from 2018 to 2021. Estrin had an overall deal with Netflix and was developing more shows for the streamer until his sudden demise. “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,” said Netflix VP of series Matt Thunell.