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Senior Scene® | January Issue
Tinseltown Talks
by Nick  omas
worked on other hit series such as
“The Dick Van Dyke Show” & “The Andy Grif th Show.” When executive producer Leonard Stern began planning “Get Smart,” he invited Sandrich to produce the  rst season.
“But I really didn’t enjoy producing - too many worries,” admitted Sandrich, who went on to direct a half-dozen episodes.
In the 70s, Sandrich guest directed multiple episodes of numerous popular series. He especially left his directorial mark on “Mary Tyler Moore” & “The Cosby Show” in the 80s/90s, directing over 100 episodes of each & winning 2 Emmys for each series.
Despite spending a career surrounded by actors, Sandrich says emphatically he had no desire to act himself. “I knew how bad I would have been!”
“I’m85now&mywife&Ihave been spending summers in Aspen & I’ve directed a few plays,” he says. “But television comedy has changed so much that I don’t think I’d be good directing
it today. I’ve had a great career being involved with some of the best comedy shows ever produced.”
Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., & has written features, columns, & interviews for over 650 magazines & newspapers. SS
Jay Sandrich
directed classic sitcoms
Starting out as an assistant director
on “I love Lucy” in the late 50s probably wasn’t a bad introduction to Jay Sandrich’s television career behind the camera.
“I wrote a letter to Lucy’s company (Desilu) & was invited for an interview,” recalled Sandrich from Los Angeles. He was immediately offered the job despite possessing only a  lm degree from UCLA & a couple of years’ experience working on army documentaries.
“It was my  rst real job in the business,” he said. “The only reason I got it was because the man who hired me had been my father’s assistant, so I got that job thanks to my father.”
But by then, there was no way for Jay to thank his dad. Sandrich senior had died a decade earlier when his son was just 13.
Mark Sandrich had been a respected  lm director in the 1930s & 40s who worked on  ve Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers’  lms as well as the still favorite seasonal musical “Holiday Inn.”
As the rookie second assistant director on “Lucy,” young Jay’s duties included a
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lot of paperwork & making sure actors were on time for rehearsals. “Then I got the job of  rst assistant director the next season. I knew very little, but the previous assistant director, Jack Aldworth – now the associate producer – taught me so much.”
Also  lming at Desilu Studios
was “Make Rm. for Daddy.” Director/ producer Sheldon Leonard invited Sandrich to work on the series as assistant director for over 160 episodes.
“That’s where I really learned a lot,” he said. “Not necessarily working with actors but with the cameras.”
Throughout the 60s, Sandrich
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