Emmy-Winning TV Director — Known as ‘America’s Leading Sitcom Director’ — Dead at 92

Apr 18, 2012  •  Post A Comment

A veteran television director who helmed a string of successful comedy series and became known as “America’s leading sitcom director” has died, The New York Times reports. Paul Bogart was 92.

Bogart was known for directing shows including "All in the Family" and "Get Smart" in a career that spanned five decades. Called “America’s leading sitcom director" in 1982 by the Christian Science Monitor, he won five Emmys and received 17 nominations.

One of his Emmy wins was for the "All in the Family" episode "Edith’s 50th Birthday," which The Times calls "one of the more nerve-shattering shows in television history." The 1977 episode centered on an intruder trying to rape Edith, the housewife known for her naivete, the piece adds.

Born Paul Bogoff in Harlem, Bogart later changed his name to sound more American. Growing up poor after his parents divorced, he stole money to go to the movies, and later wasn’t able to afford college, the story notes.

He joined a traveling marionette troupe after answering an ad saying, "Puppeteer: No Experience Necessary," according to the article. After serving in the Army Air Forces in World War II, he returned to the marionette company, but then applied for a television job at NBC, lying about his experience and education, the story says.

Taken to the studio where "Broadway Open House" was being televised, Bogart was handed earphones from the floor manager, or what stage managers were then called, the piece notes. Bogart realized he was supposed to pass on the director’s instructions to the actors. He made up the hand signals, the story says.

"Everybody was making up their job,” Bogart said of early television.

From there, he worked on the new "Today" show and "Howdy Doody," and then began directing live dramas.

Bogart’s early TV work included directing the CBS drama series “The Defenders,” which earned him his first Emmy in 1965. He picked up two Emmys for directing “CBS Playhouse,” in 1968 and 1970. After his Emmy for “All in the Family” he won an Emmy as part of the production team for “The Golden Girls” in 1986.

His films include 1969’s "Marlowe" and Bob Hope’s last movie, "Cancel My Reservation," in 1972, the story adds.

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