“Bud Yorkin, a veteran producer-director who brought Hollywood headliners into America’s living rooms through live television in the 1950s before rocking the conventions of network comedy with partner Norman Lear through ‘All in the Family’ and other provocative hits, died Tuesday at his Bel-Air home,” writes Elaine Woo in the Los Angeles Times.
Yorkin was 89, and he died of natural causes, the story says.
The Times obituary says, “‘He was certainly one of the great directors of comedy-variety in the ’50s,” said Ron Simon, curator for television and radio at the Paley Center for Media in New York. “His work with Dinah Shore, Ernie Ford, and ‘The Colgate Comedy Hour’ with Abbott and Costello were really remarkable shows that captured the immediacy and aliveness of television. He capped that off with the Fred Astaire show, which was among the most decorated shows of all time.
“Yorkin went on to a creative partnership with Lear that lasted more than two decades. They made such films as ‘Come Blow Your Horn’ (1963), ‘Divorce American Style’ (1967) and ‘Start the Revolution Without Me’ (1970) before shaking up the sitcom with such sensations as ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Maude’ and ‘Sanford and Son.’”
Lear, 93, said in a statement about Yorkin, “His was the horse we rode in on and I couldn’t love or appreciate him more.”
On Oct. 17, 1958, Yorkin produced and directed one of the most acclaimed specials in the history of TV: “An Evening with Fred Astaire.” He also produced and directed “Another Evening with Fred Astaire” 14 months later. (A third installment that was aired in 1960, “Astaire Time” was done without Yorkin’s involvement.)
To read more about Yorkin, please click here, which will take you to Woo’s obituary.
Here’s a terrific interview with Bud from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Archive of American Television that we found on YouTube: