Stamford’s King School helped shape TV legend Grant Tinker

December 7, 2016 GMT

STAMFORD — Before Grant Tinker became a national TV legend, he was a hometown sports legend at King School.

Tinker, who is best known for producing classics like “Hill Street Blues” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” was a star athlete at King School in the 1940s. His senior yearbook page from 1943 heralds Tinker as “the best all-around player to grace our rolling turf.”

He earned 12 varsity letters in various sports, including baseball, football, tennis, hockey and basketball.

Tinker, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1949 with a degree in English and business, died at his Los Angeles home last week. He was 90.

“The most important years of Grant’s life were spent at King School,” Tinker’s sister Joan Swift said this week

Tinker was born in 1926 and was the son of a lumber supplier. He grew up on Overbrook Drive, a private road in Belltown.

After graduating college, he landed his first short stint at NBC. Swift says it was King School that first put him on his path to success.

“King School was so important in his life — probably moreso that Dartmouth,” she said. “His love for English and writing was shaped at King School, long before he went to Dartmouth.”

Swift remembers her older brother’s King School days fondly.

“All of his friends were King School boys — which I loved because he used to bring them home and they would be boyfriends of mine,” she said. “The boys would all come over to play ping pong and I would make brownies.”

When the King School boys went home, though, Swift and Tinker would go head-to-head in ping pong.

“Grant and I had the biggest battles playing ping pong,” she said. “We were both very good.”

The brother and sister, who were only 13 months apart, remained close throughout their lives.

“I miss our conversations the most,” Swift said. “We always had a lot of laughs about our Connecticut days and growing up in Overbrook.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report