Zack Estrin, a prolific TV producer who most recently rebooted the 1960s science fiction show Lost in Space for Netflix, has died at the age of 51. Estrin’s untimely death has shocked Hollywood, as the ace producer and screenwriter appeared to be in good health before his death.
Estrin is believed to have died as a result of a suspected heart attack while out for a routine jog on Hermosa Beach, California. This is speculative, as an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death. The tragic incident happened on Friday, September 23, and his bereaved family confirmed his death 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 long-time talent agency, WME, has also confirmed his death. “Zack has been a client of WME for nearly 25 years,” said Ari Greenburg, President of WME. “He had a hugely successful career and mentored a lot of writers.” We are so proud of all of his accomplishments and consider ourselves fortunate to have called him a friend.”
Estrin, who was born in Woodland, California but raised in Brooklyn, New York, would return to California to study at the University of Southern California. Estrin went straight into the entertainment industry as a producer after graduating from college.
Estrin’s early film credits include the comedy-thriller Stranger Than Fiction and O, a modern remake of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Othello. Estrin would then move on to producing for television, beginning as a screenwriter. His wit and brilliance helped to propel the success of shows like Charmed, Dawson’s Creek, and Tru Calling, many of which became cult classics.
The Fox show Prison Break followed, becoming one of the most popular prime-time TV shows of its time. He co-executive produced the show with Matt Olmstead and Dawn Parouse after writing and producing it.
Estrin was working with Olmstead to revive the series until his untimely death, with plans to start with a spin-off called Prison Break: Cherry Hill. Estrin was a key contributor to Prison Break’s success, according to his colleague Olmstead, who describes him as “an amazing writer, equally gifted with dialogue and structure.”
“What made him a great showrunner was his ability to attract the right people.” Writers wanted to collaborate with him and give him their best effort. Executives and writers’ assistants both liked him. “He was a bridge builder,” Olmstead said.
Estrin was most recently known as the showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s Lost in Space, which aired for three seasons from 2018 to 2021. Estrin had an overall deal with Netflix and was working on new shows for the streaming service until his untimely death.
“Zack was a much-loved writer, producer, and collaborator whose work taught us to seek adventure and to put our faith in family.” “His vision and passion will be greatly missed,” said Matt Thunell, Netflix’s VP of series.