Paul Bogart, 92, a puppeteer who bumbled into the new medium of television in 1950 and rose to be an Emmy-winning director known for popular shows like
All in the Family
, died Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Mr. Bogart was recognized as a master of live television, from game shows to high drama, and later as the respected director of filmed shows like Get Smart. Known for his skill in positioning actors for best effect and his attention to editing, he was "always just this side or that side of brilliant," Tom Shales wrote in the Washington Post in 1979.
In 1982, the Christian Science Monitor called Mr. Bogart "America's leading sitcom director." Mr. Bogart once said that the situation comedy is "held in low regard by everyone except those who watch it."
One of his five Emmys was for directing an episode of All in the Family titled "Edith's 50th Birthday," considered by many to be one of the more nerve-shattering shows in TV history. First shown in October 1977, it depicted an intruder trying to rape Edith, played by Jean Stapleton, a character who had become beloved for her sweet naivete.
Mr. Bogart also won an Emmy in 1965 for directing a two-part episode of the series The Defenders. Titled "The 700 Year Old Gang," it told the story of an elderly vintner prosecuted for bootlegging. In 1968 and 1970, he won for directing episodes of CBS Playhouse.
His fifth Emmy, shared with five others in 1986, was for his work as a producer of The Golden Girls, which was named outstanding comedy.
Paul Bogoff, who would later change his name to sound more American (the family had earlier changed it from Bogoslavsky for the same reason), was born in Harlem.
His parents divorced when he was a child, and he, his mother and his two sisters depended on charity to survive. He developed a taste for show business by stealing money to go to the movies.
He graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx, but couldn't afford college. While working as a printer, he answered an ad saying, "Puppeteer: No Experience Necessary." He joined a traveling marionette troupe.
The author Budd Schulberg, writing in Life magazine in 1970, called Mr. Bogart "an actor's director," describing him as "a bearded Buddha with satyric eyes that conceal his philosophic gentleness." - N.Y. Times News Service