Jack Sameth, Pioneer TV Producer, Dead at 79

Jul 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Jack Sameth, who produced or directed everything from ABC News coverage of the manned space program to “The Great American Dream Machine” for public broadcasting, died Tuesday after a heart attack at his home in Northport, N.Y. He was 79.

Mr. Sameth began his 50-year career in TV as a page for DuMont Television. His professional travels would take him to ABC News, where his assignments included directing the flagship newscast unhappily co-anchored in 1976 by Harry Reasoner and the ground-breaking Barbara Walters. During a stint as an ABC executive, supervised such prime-time programs as “The Hollywood Palace” and “The Jimmy Dean Show.”

By the time he retired in 1996, he would have had a hand in commercial and public television projects that ranged from presidential debates in the 60s and 70s, and the award-winning “The Brain” and its sequel “The Mind,” to a series of televised concerts for then-President Bill Clinton.

According to an obituary released Thursday by New York public station WNET-TV, Mr. Sameth liked to say, “I was there at the beginning.”

A memorial is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 8, at Nolan & Taylor-Howe Funeral Home in Northport.