Leonard Freeman (see photo) was born on October 31, 1920, in Sonoma County, California. He was an actor, writer, producer, and director of television and motion picture productions.
Freeman began his career as a television actor in 1951, first appearing in the Fireside Theatre and The Lone Ranger, among others. He began writing in 1952 with the stories for Steel Town and The All American. Soon, he was writing for Four Star Playhouse, Lassie, Men of Annapolis, and others.
In 1961, Freeman produced an episode of Route 66. Over the next twelve years, he produced or served as executive producer for television series (The Untouchables, Naked City, Cimarron Strip, Storefront Lawyers), made-for-television movies (Visions, Cry Rape), and a motion picture (Hang 'Em High).
Far and away Freeman's best-known achievement was Hawaii Five-0. He created the series and served as executive producer for 129 episodes and as producer for 5 episodes during the series' first six seasons. He was responsible for Five-0's being filmed in Hawai'i, and he was responsible for making contact with governmental and business leaders and with citizens who acquainted him with the Hawaiian Islands, their personalities, and their issues.
Freeman was nominated three times for Emmy Awards: in 1955, for "Best Written Dramatic Material" for Four Star Playhouse; in 1965, for "Outstanding Program Achievements in Entertainment" for Mr. Novak; and in 1973, for "Outstanding Drama Series - Continuing" for Hawaii Five-0.
Leonard Freeman died on January 20, 1974, soon after filming was concluded for the sixth season of Five-0. He died in Palo Alto, California, as the result of complications from heart surgery. He is survived by his wife, Joan Taylor "Rose" Freeman.After his death, Freeman's name in the credits on Hawaii Five-0 ceased to appear as "Leonard Freeman, Executive Producer" and appeared as "Developed by Leonard Freeman Productions."
Rose Freeman was born Rose Marie Emma on August 18, 1929, in Geneva, Illinois. Her mother was Amelia Berky Emma, who was a singing and dancing star in the 1920s. Her father, Joseph Emma, was a theatrical prop man. Soon after Rose’s birth, the family moved to Lake Forest, Illinois, where her father managed a movie theater. Rose took a love of dancing from her mother and went on to graduate from the Chicago National Association of Dancing Masters. She took her love of motion pictures from her father’s work.
In 1946, after performing with the USO in a tour of military hospitals during World War II, Rose moved to Hollywood and enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse. There, she met Leonard Freeman, who was, himself, an actor before he became a writer, director, and producer. Both were working on a production of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. The couple were married in 1953 and became parents to a daughter, Robin, in 1954. They would later have two more daughters.
Taking the stage name Joan Taylor, Rose made her film debut in Fighting Man of the Plains (1949). Some people feel that Rose is best known for her work in Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957). She appeared on television, as well as in films, including eighteen appearances on The Rifleman. Rose left acting at the end of 1963, to rear her children.
After the death of her husband in January 1974, Rose managed the Hawaii Five-0 property, which he created and considered his "most beloved creation." She has been active in the management of the remake, which first aired in September 2010. According to her daughter, Robin Freeman Bernstein, "It was her purpose in getting up in the morning."
In addition, Rose made a cameo appearance as a tourist in the film, Split (1978). She also began writing for print media, film, and television. Her work includes an episode of the television saga, Family (1979), a TV movie, An Invasion of Privacy (1983); a video short, Redlands (1990); a story, Fools Rush In (1997); and a teleplay, Heart of a Stranger (2002). In addition, she appeared as herself on two documentaries: Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) (2010) and Emme's Island Moments: Memories of Hawaii Five-0 (1996).