Bud Yorkin, producer of 'All in the Family,' 'The Jeffersons,' dead at 89

Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:05am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bud Yorkin, who directed and produced some of the most influential and memorable television shows of the 1970s, including "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," has died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 89-years-old.

Over the course of his long career, Alan "Bud" Yorkin won six Emmy Awards, a Peabody, a Sylvania and a Director’s Guild Award.

"Yorkin directed and co-produced many of the most innovative hit sitcoms of the 1970s, shows that broke new ground by interjecting topical, real-world elements of class, race, politics and social change as well as previously unseen settings into comic situations," his spokesman said in a statement.

Yorkin was best known for developing the groundbreaking sitcom "All in the Family," which introduced Americans to the openly bigoted, blue-collar worker, Archie Bunker, and the use of television comedy as a medium for social commentary.

Yorkin was born in Pennsylvania in 1926. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon.

He discovered his talent for writing and directing comedy while in the military, and went to work for NBC in the 1950s, directing hit shows of the era including the "Dinah Shore Show."

In 1957, he wrote, directed, and produced “An Evening With Fred Astaire,” which earned 9 Emmys for Best Writing, Best Direction and Best Musical Special. 

He moved into production, and in the early 1970s he and partner Norman Lear developed "All in the Family," based off the British BBC series "Till Death Us Do Part."

"All in the Family," considered one of the most successful and influential television series in U.S. history, used comedy as a sound-board for major social themes, including racism and sexism.   Continued...

Bud Yorkin accepts the David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award Television at the 14th annual Producers Guild Awards March 2, 2003 in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Jim Ruymen