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John Rich, ‘All in the Family’ Director, Dies at 86

He won three Emmys for the iconic comedy and worked on numerous classic shows. He had a significant career as DGA board member, too

Veteran director John Rich, who worked on a number of TV classics including "All in the Family," "Gunsmoke" and "Gilligan's Island," has died.

He was 86.

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He directed the pilot for "All in the Family" and spent four years directing and producing the classic comedy for which he won two DGA Awards and three Emmys. Rich was prolific, directing more than 40 episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as well as "Bonanza," "The Rifleman," "The Twilight Zone" and "Murphy Brown." 

Rich was also a board member of the Directors Guild for more than 50 years, and was a key player in the union's 196- merger ith the Radio and Television Driectors Guild and was integral to the formation of the pension and health plans.

DGA President Taylor Hackford  on Sunday morning issues a statement on Rich, which read :

“We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of John Rich. A legendary figure in the history of TV comedy, John tirelessly served our Guild for nearly six decades.  He directed some of the most beloved classics of all time and his skills as a television director were unsurpassed, but no matter how busy and successful his career was, John always made time for the DGA.


“No one who ever sat in a meeting with John will ever forget his stories about the early days of the Guild or his lovably salty sense of humor.  John began making an impact in the Guild from the very first time he attended a meeting of what was then the Screen Directors Guild. At that meeting, he had the chutzpah to point out that of the illustrious members – including Capra, Stevens, Wyler and Hitchcock – who had convened to elect a board of directors, none had ever worked in television. And the very next day – John got a call that they had appointed him – this brash young television wunderkind, as an alternate member of the new board. And once he began serving the Guild, he never stopped, with more than 50 years on the National Board and Western Directors Council, and even after his retirement continued serving as the Chairman of the Directors Guild Foundation.

“But what we’ll remember the most is his dedication to defending the economic and creative rights of our members, pushing for the merger of the Screen Directors Guild and Radio & Television Directors Guild, establishing the Pension Plan and serving on almost every Negotiations Committee since 1960. We’ll always be grateful to have had the benefit of his formidable presence, his outspoken nature and his years of experience that came from leading and supporting the Guild in some of its most important moments.  Our hearts go out to his wife Pat and his family at this difficult time.”