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Harry Ackerman
Credits
Position Executive Producer
Biographical Information
Full Name Harry Stephen Ackerman, Jr.
Birthdate November 17, 1912
Birthplace Albany, New York, United States
Death Date February 3, 1991 (age 78)
Death Place Burbank, California, United States[1]

Harry Ackerman was the Executive Producer on the Bewitched television series. He produced all 254 episodes.

Biography

Harry Ackerman was a television producer. He was born as Harry Stephen Ackerman, Jr. on November 17, 1912, in Albany, New York.

He was involved in the production of some of television’s popular sitcom series, including “I Love Lucy,” “Bewitched” and “Leave It to Beaver.” Ackerman was cited for his extensive television work. He was executive producer of network television series, including “Hazel,” “The Farmer’s Daughter,” “The Flying Nun,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Gidget” and “Dennis the Menace,” in addition to “Bewitched.”

All of those were done under the banner of Screen Gems, where Ackerman worked for fifteen years, most of the time as head of production, until he left in 1973.

Prior to joining Screen Gems, he developed “Bachelor Father” and “Leave It to Beaver.”

Though known as “The Dean of Television Comedy,” Ackerman was also executive producer of such dramatic classics as “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial”; “The Day Lincoln Was Shot,” starring Jack Lemmon and Raymond Massey; “Twentieth Century,” starring Orson Welles and Betty Grable; and “Blithe Spirit,” starring Noel Coward, Lauren Bacall and Mildred Natwick.

Other Ackerman comedy series were “My Sister Eileen,” “Our Man Higgins,” “Wackiest Ship in the Army,” “Occasional Wife” and “Love on a Rooftop.”

Ackerman started his television career at CBS, where he was initially executive producer in New York for the network and subsequently became Vice President in Charge of CBS Programs in Hollywood.

While at CBS, Ackerman was responsible for the development of “I Love Lucy” and “Our Miss Brooks.” He helped develop “Gunsmoke” as a radio series, and after was instrumental in transforming it into a long-running, top-rated television series.

Ackerman was CBS-TV West Coast Program Vice President from 1948 to 1958.

Ackerman, who attended Dartmouth College as a theater arts major, started out as a writer, but segued into being a radio performer, appearing as the comic poet Wilbur W. Willoughby Jr.

He joined the Young & Rubicam advertising agency in 1938, becoming Vice President of Program Operations in 1946.

After leaving Screen Gems, Ackerman formed Harry Ackerman Productions, as an indie. He immediately signed an exclusive deal with Paramount Television to create television series, specials and feature films on a co-production basis, and went to work on network development for Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Among his many achievements, Ackerman was National President of Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for two terms and has had a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame since 1985.

In November 1990, Ackerman was honored as Member of the Year by the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors. He was a member of that organization’s steering committee and helped supervise publication of the Caucus Quarterly.

Harry Ackerman died on February 3, 1991, in Burbank, California, of pulmonary failure. He was 78. He was survived by his wife, actress Elinor Donahue, one of the stars of the “Father Knows Best” series, and six children.[2].  

References

  1. Harry Ackerman on the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on March 9, 2022.
  2. Variety Staff. "Harry Ackerman", People News, Variety, February 10, 1991. Retrieved on March 9, 2022, edited.
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