Who is Terry Dunn Meurer, co-creator of Unsolved Mysteries? The next instalment of the show premiered on Netflix this month to something of a stir.
With its refreshed and more true-to-life approach, it seems difficult to believe that the show first aired more than thirty years ago. The show also features a tribute in the credits to its most famous presenter, Robert Stack, who was considered irreplaceable by the showrunners.
Unsolved Mysteries became iconic for its stories that blended true crime and paranormal phenomena, its resonating voiceovers and music – as well as occasional breakthroughs, with 270 crimes solved throughout the show’s lifespan.
We have to thank creators Terry Dunn Meurer and Robert Cosgrove for all of this.
What else has Terry Dunn Meurer worked on?
Meurer’s most notable success is of course Unsolved Mysteries, which first aired in 1987.
Four years earlier, she showed her interest in solving crimes when she directed the HBO documentary Vanished: Missing Children. The show was the precursor to Unsolved Mysteries, seeking to help solve cases of missing children.
Two years later, she directed Losin’ It: Sex and the American Teenager. Little information is available on the show, although it was narrated by Lawrence Pressman. Pressman went on, perhaps a tad ironically, to have a bit part as a coach in American Pie, as well as many more serious roles.
Terry Dunn Meurer produced a host of other shows during the Unsolved Mysteries hiatus, most of which have used the investigative documentary format, such as ‘Proof Positive: Evidence of the Paranormal’. She has also produced a handful of movies, which tended to be more light-hearted in tone.
Where did Meurer get the inspiration for Unsolved Mysteries?
Meurer describes herself as an Agatha Christie buff, and an avid reader of Nancy Drew growing up. She has always been intrigued by mysteries, and hoped her show might help solve real crimes.
Three years ago she told a Reddit Ask Me Anything audience that the case that stayed with her the most was of Deborah Wolfe, a woman who was found in a barrel in a lake. She also found it gratifying that the show helped to solve the case of Patty Stallings, a woman who was wrongly convicted of murdering her son.
Meurer has talked about being motivated by the hope that the show might encourage law enforcement to look at old cases anew. She has said she feels very personally involved in the stories, sometimes staying in touch with participants after filming has wrapped.
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