LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Prolific screen and television writer John Furia Jr., who penned popular series including "Bonanza," "The Waltons," and "Hawaii Five-O" among many others, has died, according to a statement from the Writers Guild of America West. He was 79.

The cause or exact time of death could not immediately be determined.

Furia, a former president of the WGAW, was a longtime advocate for Hollywood writers. He was also a founding chairman of University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television Writing Division and was a full professor there teaching screen and television writing.