Claire Whitaker, 93, who wrote for television for more than 40 years died in Santa Fe on September 23, 2021. Along with her late husband, Rod Peterson, Whitaker spent six seasons writing for The Waltons. The show ran from 1972 to 1981. It was one of the most popular family programs in the history of television. The husband-and-wife team also wrote for the prime-time soap opera Falcon Crest. From 1983 until 1986 the couple developed several television pilots. Those included the Mary Tyler Moore show and other Hollywood entities. But it was with The Waltons that Whitaker was able to apply her heartfelt style of writing.
The couple moved to Santa Fe in 1989. They continued to write for Hollywood, which included two reunion shows for The Waltons. As Whitaker once stated, “I embraced that show. It fulfilled my dream of what television could be—it was uplifting and it espoused hard work and family values.
Whitaker was born in Chicago on May 26, 1928, to a close-knit Mormon family. She came from a long line of Utah pioneers. Whitaker’s love for the West was ingrained in her soul. Her father, Ferrin Whitaker, was the artistic director for Montgomery Ward. Her mother, Martha, stayed home and raised their four children. Whitaker graduated from Northwestern University in 1949 with a degree in radio communications. Television premiered the following year. And Claire Whitaker was in the right place and the right time. Rest in peace, Amiga!