Monday, April 22, 2024

RIP Jay Sandrich, 89, One of the Greatest Directors in History of TV, from Mary Tyler Moore to Cosby, Odd Couple, Winner of 4 Emmys


In a short period of time over night, directors Melvin van Peebles, 89, a legend, and Roger Michell, 65, a Brit star who made “Notting Hill,” have died. I’ll get to them in another filing.

This morning comes new that Jay Sandrich, the gold standard for directing American television comedies, has died at age 89. He won four Emmys, two of them for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and two more for “The Cosby Show.” He was also nominated for the hilarious “Soap.”

If you saw Jay Sandrich’s name on a TV show, you watched. Like James Burrows, he was it.There was no one better. He directed 119 episodes of “MTM” and 100 more of “Cosby.” All his credits were the classiest: “The Odd Couple,” “Lou Grant,” “That Girl,” many episodes of “Get Smart,” plus “Rhoda” and “Phyllis,” the short lived Stockard Channing series, and many others.

Jay Sandrich was a class act, a giant talent, and made huge contributions to the culture and history of classic TV. I thank him, and everyone else should, too. What a career!

Sandrich is survived by his second wife, Linda, whom he wed in 1984; his children Eric, Tony and Wendy; four grandchildren; a niece and nephew; and great nieces and nephews.

Donations in his memory can be made to Planned Parenthood, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Cradle to Career Aspen Community Foundation.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News