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Director John Rich dead at 86

Jan. 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Director John Rich, who worked in U.S. television for more than a half century, has died after a brief illness, the Directors Guild of America said.

He was 86 when he died at his Los Angeles home Sunday morning.

Among the series he worked on were "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," "The Twilight Zone," "The Rifleman," "Bat Masterson," "That Girl," "Gilligan's Island," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "Hogan's Heroes," "I Spy," "The Brady Bunch," "All in the Family," "Benson" and "MacGyver."

"We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of John Rich," DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement Sunday. "A legendary figure in the history of TV comedy, John tirelessly served our guild for nearly six decades. He directed some of the most beloved classics of all time and his skills as a television director were unsurpassed, But no matter how busy and successful his career was, John always made time for the DGA."

Rich spent more than 50 years on the guild's National Board and Western Directors Council, and even after his retirement continued serving as the chairman of the Directors Guild Foundation, Hackford noted.

"But what we'll remember the most is his dedication to defending the economic and creative rights of our members, pushing for the merger of the Screen Directors Guild and Radio & Television Directors Guild, establishing the pension plan and serving on almost every negotiations committee since 1960," Hackford's statement continued. "We'll always be grateful to have had the benefit of his formidable presence, his outspoken nature and his years of experience that came from leading and supporting the guild in some of its most important moments."

Rich is survived by his wife Pat.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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