Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Veteran producer-director Bud Yorkin, who brought Hollywood headliners into America’s living rooms through live television in the 1950s, has died of natural causes at his home in Bel-Air. He was 89.

Yorkin, who with partner Norman Lear changed the nature of television comedy with such provocative hits as “All in the Family,” died Tuesday, family spokesman Jeff Sanderson told the Los Angeles Times.

Yorkin began his career in television’s golden age, when he became one of the most sought-after directors of musical variety shows and specials. He worked with such stars as Jack Benny, Dinah Shore and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and directed Fred Astaire in a dazzling TV debut that won nine Emmys, The Times reported.

“He was certainly one of the great directors of comedy-variety in the ’50s,” Ron Simon, curator for television and radio at the Paley Center for Media in New York, told The Times.

“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,” The Times reported.

Married to feminist leader Peg Yorkin for 30 years until their divorce in 1984, Yorkin is survived by his second wife, actress Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, two children from his first marriage, two children with Sikes, two sisters, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services were not immediately announced.

—City News Service

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