A veteran television producer whose work racked up an almost unbelievable string of Emmys during his long, prolific career has died. The Associated Press reports that Robert Halmi Sr., described as a television impresario, died Wednesday at his home in New York City. He was 90.
Over his career, Halmi’s projects won 136 Emmy Awards, while a Peabody Award citation honored him as “perhaps the last of the great network television impresarios.”
“Teamed with his son, Robert Halmi, Jr., he claimed every project was a passion project, including the 1994 miniseries version of ‘Scarlett,’ Alexandra Ripley’s sequel to ‘Gone With the Wind,’ which he defended as not a rip-off of the world’s most beloved movie, but ‘an eight-hour study in American history,’” the story reports.
After starting out his career as a magazine photographer, Halmi switched careers in the mid-1960s and went on to produce more than 200 television programs and miniseries, which often were family-focused shows such as “Dinotopia” and “Gulliver’s Travels.” The latter project, which starred Ted Danson, won the Emmy for outstanding miniseries in 1996.
He told the AP in 1993 that producers “are just money people who have X number of dollars, and with them they buy people, mostly on the phone.” He added, “I’m somebody with pretty good taste who goes one step further. With the creative process, everything has to be nurtured. I know on every project, every day, where it stands dollars-and-cents-wise, but I also know did someone have a cold.”
The Hungarian-born producer, who was recently working on Syfy’s mythological project “Olympus,” told the AP that the two English words he couldn’t understand were “security” and “retirement.”