REMEMBERING BOB FINKEL
Monday, May 21, 2012
Posted by: PGA
Finkel with Elvis Presley, 1968
We are saddened to report the passing of one of our Guild’s past Presidents and most dedicated members. Producer Bob Finkel died on April 30th at home in Beverly Hills, at age 94.
One of the most respected television producers of his generation, Bob first broke into the business as a director of several of the notable comedy/variety and genre series of the medium’s golden age. After earning his stripes on such programs as The Colgate Comedy Hour, Gruen Guild Theater, City Detective and The People’s Choice, Finkel stepped into the producer’s role in 1959 on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, a series he continued to produce and direct for the next several years. His career as a producer would crest over the next decade and a half, as he produced The Andy Williams Show during the mid-1960s, then capped off the decade as the executive producer of Elvis, the instantly legendary Elvis Presley comeback special on NBC. A few years later, in 1972, he pulled off a rarely-seen "double play,” producing both the Oscar and Emmy Awards broadcasts.
In the later part of his career, he continued to break new ground in variety television, producing some of the signature programs of the 1980s, including Circus of the Stars and the now-classic John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. Bob also made a successful return to the director’s chair, helming episodes of such series as Barney Miller, The Bob Newhart Show and McMillan and Wife. His final credit, the television film Have You Seen My Son?, starred Lisa Hartman Black and was broadcast on ABC in 1996.
Over his more than four decades in the industry, Bob earned the high esteem of his peers. At the height of his career, from 1969-1971, he fittingly served as President of the Producers Guild of America. In 1994, he became only the fourth PGA member honored with the Charles FitzSimons Lifetime Membership Award for his outstanding service to the Guild.
We hope that all of our members who knew Bob will take a moment to share their memories of him with other friends and colleagues. And if you were one of the less-fortunate ones who never had the opportunity to meet Bob, we recommend that you make a point of hunting down Elvis, and enjoying the work of a true master of the medium.
Mr. Finkel is survived by his family, including a grandson, Drew Baldwin, who is also a member of the PGA.