Tuesday, July 17, 2012

William Asher (1921-2012)

He was credited with creating the television situation comedy, or, sitcom. Most people might remember William Asher's name in the credits for Bewitched, which starred then-wife Elizabeth Montgomery, but the prolific director's career was much more than that.

Asher, who passed away Monday at 90 from Alzheimer's Disease, also helmed episodes of shows as diverse as Our Miss Brooks, I Love Lucy, Make Room For Daddy, The Colgate Comedy Hour, Racket Squad, Alice, & The Dukes of Hazzard, with his last series of note being Kay O'Brien in 1986.

Asher also directed some of the Frankie Avalon beach party movies, which fellow blogger Sam Wilson referenced over at Mondo 70. During the Bewitched era, Asher & Montgomery formed their own production company, Ashmont, which continued after their divorce in 1973. After Bewitched ended in 1972, Ashmont placed two new shows on ABC's schedule, Temperatures Rising, which was a showcase for Cleavon Little moreso than for James Whitmore, and The Paul Lynde Show, which put the Hollywood Squares & Bewitched icon as a family man, but when that series bombed, Lynde replaced Whitmore on Temperatures, only to see that flop as well. The last project that I can recall being under the Ashmont banner was Tabitha (1977), with Lisa Hartman starring in the belated spinoff from Bewitched.

Rest in peace, William.

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