Lucy’s directorWilliam Asher

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A television director, Asher had a dream job: to direct I Love Lucy. He hit the ground running: his first episode is now considered a classic — Lucy and Ethel get a job in a chocolate factory. And more than 100 other episodes followed. That wasn’t his only brush with comic genius, though: he directed the pilot of Eve Arden’s Our Miss Brooks, and worked on The Danny Thomas Show, co-created The Patty Duke Show, and convinced his actress wife to take a role she didn’t really want to accept: she was Elizabeth Montgomery, and the role was the lead character in Bewitched. He won an Emmy for his work on the show. Asher later directed the pilot for Gidget. He also directed movies, most famously the “Beach Party” films, such as Bikini Beach and Beach Blanket Bingo. “Without him, there was no ‘Beach Party,’ I’ll tell you that,” said star Frankie Avalon. “He was a brilliant guy. He had such a flair for comedy, and working with him was such a joy. Basically, my character, Frankie, was really Bill Asher. He was truly a surfer — he lived on the beach in Malibu, and he surfed every day. He handpicked all the surfers that were in our pictures.” Asher also wrote the scripts for most of the “Beach” movies. He died July 16, from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 90.

From This is True for 22 July 2012