Bud Yorkin

Producer / Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Bud Yorkin (1926-2015) talks about his early years and his education at Carnegie Tech, as well as his time as a television repair man. He describes getting into television in the technical department, and working his way to becoming a stage manager and eventually director of The Colgate Comedy Hour starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. He recounts his time working as a producer on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show with writers Danny Arnold, Roland Kibbee (who Yorkin hired despite his being blacklisted), and producing partner Norman Lear. Yorkin discusses what he considers his greatest career triumph, An Evening with Fred Astaire, which he wrote, produced, and directed and for which he won several Emmy Awards. He outlines his role in his and Norman Lear's Tandem Productions, which saw him developing the classic shows All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son,  and Diff'rent Strokes. He concludes by speaking of striking out on his own with TOY Productions, which produced What's Happening!, Carter Country and 13 Queens Boulevard in rapid secession. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview on December 2, 1997 in Beverly Hills, CA. 

"ABC passed on it-- it was too controversial...now we're watching the second pilot of 'All in the Family,' and Fred Silverman's walking by and he's says, 'This is going on CBS.' I must say they had some bravery. We never changed three words from the first show that went on the air."

Highlights
Bud Yorkin on partnering up with Norman Lear to form Tandem Productions
04:53
Bud Yorkin on what distinguished him as a television director
06:01
Bud Yorkin on ABC passing on All in the Family  and CBS picking it up
03:32
Bud Yorkin on developing and casting Sanford and Son
04:51
Bud Yorkin on career highlights and remaining independent 
02:13
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio shows and movies he enjoyed growing up and his early interest in sports; on his service in World War II
09:27
On early attempts at writing; on attending Carnegie Tech; on being a television repair man in the early '50s
06:53
On going to work at NBC in New York City in the engineering department; on writing critiques for shows while he was working in the engineering department at NBC; on working for Fred Coe
13:37

Chapter 2

On working with Fred Coe; on stage managing and associate directing The Colgate Comedy Hour; on working with Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen, and Bud Abbot and Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
08:30
On being promoted to associate director on The Colgate Comedy Hour and moving to the West Coast; on associate directing The Dinah Shore Show and The Tony Martin Show
13:42
On his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour at the behest of Pat Weaver; on dealing with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as director of The Colgate Comedy Hour
07:37

Chapter 3

On Billy Wilder, who he considered a mentor; on directing The George Gobel Show
14:45
On producing The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show; on the writers for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show: Norman Lear, Danny Arnold, and Roland Kibbee; on working with talent and what distinguished him as a director 
15:28

Chapter 4

On making the transition from directing to producing; on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted Tennessee Ernie Ford Show writer Roland Kibbee
04:04
On writing, producing and directing An Evening with Fred Astaire; on being nominated for Emmys for An Evening with Fred Astaire 
12:09
On directing Light's Diamond Jubilee  for David O. Selznick; on directing The Jack Benny Hour; on directing The Danny Kaye Show
13:20

Chapter 5

On partnering up with Norman Lear to form Tandem Productions; on his first production for Tandem: The TV Guide Awards; on producing Henry Fonda and the Family
09:30
On producing The Andy Williams Show; on being a writer; on directing "Come Blow Your Horn" starring Frank Sinatra and other features
07:56
On finding Till Death Us Do Part upon which All in the Family was based; on casting All in the Family and making the pilot; on selling All in the Family to CBS
11:51

Chapter 6

On ABC passing on All in the Family and CBS picking it up; on initial critical and public reaction to All in the Family; on the All in the Family episode, "Sammy's Visit"
10:57
On Maude spinning off of All in the Family; on developing and casting Sanford and Son; on working with Redd Foxx on Sanford and Son
10:31
On The Jeffersons and Good Times; on leaving All in the Family, producing Diff'rent Strokes, and leaving Tandem Productions; on sharing an office with Norman Lear; on the syndication of All in the Family
06:37

Chapter 7

On forming TOY Productions and creating What's Happening!, Carter Country, and 13  Queens Boulevard; on the differences between working in television and film; on continuing to work up through the time of the interview (when he was in his 70s)
15:00
On career highlights and regrets and remaining independent; on the then-current state of television; on the then-future of television
10:57
On how he'd like to be remembered; on various people with whom he has worked in his career 
03:41

Chapter 8

On executives and personalities he's worked with: Fred Silverman, Neil Simon, Don Rickles, Robert Young, Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sammy Davis Jr., Aaron Ruben, Rue McClanahan, Jimmy Walker, Norman Lear
13:26
On b-roll pictures from his career: with Abbot and Costello; with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis; with Dinah Shore; with Jack Benny; with Fred Astaire; with Norman Lear
01:39
Shows

13 Queens Boulevard

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on forming TOY Productions and creating What's Happening!Carter Country, and 13  Queens Boulevard 
03:47

All in the Family

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on watching Till Death Us Do Part (upon which All in the Family was based) while living in London, and introducing it to Norman Lear who suggested they try to make their own pilot based on the show
02:51
Bud Yorkin on casting All in the Family and making the pilot; on the importance of casting for any show
04:44
Bud Yorkin on selling All in the Family to CBS
03:18
Bud Yorkin on ABC passing on All in the Family and CBS picking it up
03:32
Bud Yorkin on initial critical and public reaction to All in the Family
06:10
Bud Yorkin on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit"
01:15
Bud Yorkin on Maude spinning off of All in the Family
01:28
Bud Yorkin on leaving All in the Family, producing Diff'rent Strokes, and leaving Tandem Productions
02:16
Bud Yorkin on the syndication of All in the Family
01:13

All in the Family: "Sammy's Visit"

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on the All in the Family episode "Sammy's Visit"
01:15

Andy Williams Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on producing The Andy Williams Show
02:21

Carter Country

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on forming TOY Productions and creating What's Happening!Carter Country, and 13  Queens Boulevard 
03:47

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on stage managing and associate directing The Colgate Comedy Hour
03:55
Bud Yorkin on working with Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen and Bud Abbot and Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:48
Bud Yorkin on working with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:01
Bud Yorkin on being promoted to associate director on The Colgate Comedy Hour and moving to the West Coast
05:52
Bud Yorkin on his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour at the behest of Pat Weaver
02:14
Bud Yorkin on dealing with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as director of The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:46

Danny Kaye Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The Danny Kaye Show
01:52

Diff'rent Strokes

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on leaving All in the Family, producing Diff'rent Strokes, and leaving Tandem Productions
02:16

Dinah Shore Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Dinah Shore Show
04:36

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on being nominated for Emmys for An Evening with Fred Astaire 
02:06

Evening With Fred Astaire, An

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on writing, producing and directing An Evening with Fred Astaire
09:58
Bud Yorkin on being nominated for Emmys for An Evening with Fred Astaire 
02:06

George Gobel Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The George Gobel Show
10:34

Good Times

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on The Jeffersons and Good Times
01:38

Henry Fonda and the Family

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on producing Henry Fonda and the Family
03:10

Jack Benny Hour, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The Jack Benny Hour
06:07

Jeffersons, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on The Jeffersons and Good Times
01:38

Maude

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on Maude spinning off of All in the Family
01:27

Sanford and Son

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on developing and casting Sanford and Son
04:51
Bud Yorkin on working with Redd Foxx on Sanford and Son
04:14

Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on producing The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show
02:01
Bud Yorkin on the writers for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show: Norman Lear, Danny Arnold, and Roland Kibbee
04:40
Bud Yorkin on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted Tennessee Ernie Ford Show writer Roland Kibbee
01:31

Tony Martin Show, The

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Tony Martin Show
01:15

What's Happening!!

View Show Page
Bud Yorkin on controversy over What's Happening! and its cancellation 
02:42
Bud Yorkin on forming TOY Productions and creating What's Happening!Carter Country, and 13  Queens Boulevard 
03:47
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on Billy Wilder, who he considered a mentor
01:59

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on being nominated for Emmys for An Evening with Fred Astaire 
02:06

First Big Break

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour  at the behest of Pat Weaver
02:14

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on his service in World War II
01:38

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist and Tennessee Ernie Ford Show  writer Roland Kibbee
01:31

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist and Tennessee Ernie Ford Show  writer Roland Kibbee
01:31

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour  at the behest of Pat Weaver
02:14

Television Industry

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on dealing with the Hollywood Blacklist and how it impacted Tennessee Ernie Ford Show  writer Roland Kibbee
01:31
Bud Yorkin on the then-current state of television 
03:13

War

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on his service in World War II
01:38

World War II

View Topic
Bud Yorkin on his service in World War II
01:38
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Bud Yorkin on working with talent and what distinguished him as a television director
08:48
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Bud Yorkin on working in various capacities on The Colgate Comedy Hour
28:25
Bud Yorkin on directing The George Gobel Show
10:34
Bud Yorkin on directing The Jack Benny Hour
06:07
Bud Yorkin on directing The Danny Kaye Show
01:52
Bud Yorkin on developing All in the Family with Norman Lear (Part 1)
10:51
Bud Yorkin on developing All in the Family with Norman Lear (Part 2)
28:05
Bud Yorkin on developing Sanford and Son
09:04
Bud Yorkin on The Jeffersons  and Good Times
01:38
Bud Yorkin on Maude  spinning off of All in the Family
01:27
Bud Yorkin on forming TOY Productions and creating What's Happening!Carter Country, and 13  Queens Boulevard 
06:29

Drama Series

View Genre
Bud Yorkin on producing Henry Fonda and the Family
03:10

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Dinah Shore Show
04:36
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Tony Martin Show
01:15
Bud Yorkin on producing The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show
06:41
Bud Yorkin on directing Light's Diamond Jubilee  for David O. Selznick
04:13
Bud Yorkin on writing, producing and directing An Evening with Fred Astaire
12:04
Bud Yorkin on producing The Andy Williams Show
02:21
People

Bud Abbott

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:48

Danny Arnold

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on the writers for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show: Norman Lear, Danny Arnold, and Roland Kibbee
04:40

Fred Astaire

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on writing, producing and directing An Evening with Fred Astaire
09:58

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The Jack Benny Hour
06:07

Eddie Cantor

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen and Bud Abbot and Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:48

Fred Coe

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Fred Coe
04:43
Bud Yorkin on working with Fred Coe
01:47

Lou Costello

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:48

Sammy Davis, Jr.

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on the All in the Family  episode "Sammy's Visit" guest starring Sammy Davis, Jr.
01:15
Bud Yorkin on working with Sammy Davis, Jr.
01:01

Henry Fonda

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on producing Henry Fonda and the Family
03:10

Tennessee Ernie Ford

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on producing The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show
02:01

Redd Foxx

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Redd Foxx on Sanford and Son
04:14

George Gobel

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The George Gobel Show
10:34

Danny Kaye

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on directing The Danny Kaye Show
01:52

Roland Kibbee

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on the writers for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show: Norman Lear, Danny Arnold, and Roland Kibbee
04:40

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on the writers for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show: Norman Lear, Danny Arnold, and Roland Kibbee
04:40
Bud Yorkin on partnering up with Norman Lear to form Tandem Productions
04:53
Bud Yorkin on sharing an office with Norman Lear
01:32
Bud Yorkin on Norman Lear
01:32

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:01
Bud Yorkin on dealing with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as director of The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:46

Tony Martin

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Tony Martin Show
01:15

Dean Martin

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on The Colgate Comedy Hour
02:01
Bud Yorkin on dealing with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis as director of The Colgate Comedy Hour
05:46

Carroll O'Connor

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Carroll O'Connor
00:30

Rob Reiner

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Rob Reiner
00:37

Don Rickles

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Don Rickles 
00:39

Aaron Ruben

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Aaron Ruben
00:39

David O. Selznick

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on directing Light's Diamond Jubilee  for David O. Selznick
04:13

Dinah Shore

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on associate directing The Dinah Shore Show
04:36

Neil Simon

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Neil Simon
01:20

Jean Stapleton

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Jean Stapleton
00:39

Sylvester L. Weaver

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on his big break becoming director of The Colgate Comedy Hour at the behest of Pat Weaver
02:14

Billy Wilder

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on Billy Wilder, who he considered a mentor
01:59

Andy Williams

View Interview Page
Bud Yorkin on producing The Andy Williams Show
02:21

Robert Young

View Person Page
Bud Yorkin on working with Robert Young
01:55

All Interviews

Q
S