Norman Abbott, Veteran Sitcom Director, Dies at 93
By Pat Saperstein
July 12, 2016
Norman Abbott, the nephew of comedian Bud Abbott who directed numerous 1960s and ’70s sitcoms such as “Get Smart” and “The Brady Bunch,” died July 9 in Valencia, Calif. at the age of 93.
Born in New York, Norman Abbott was raised by his mother and his uncle, Bud Abbott, the straight man of the legendary comedy team of Abbott and Costello, as well as his aunt Florence Abbott and uncle Harry Abbott of Barnum & Bailey.
Norman Abbott served in World War II in the original Navy Seals unit, and was encouraged by his uncle to join the family business. He started his five decade career in show business as a radio announcer on “The Colgate Family Hour” and as stage manager on the “I Love Lucy Show.”
He went on to direct some of television’s most loved sitcoms, including “The Jack Benny Show,” for which he won an Emmy Award in 1965. He directed numerous episodes of “Leave It To Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” “Get Smart,” “Bachelor Father,” “McHale’s Navy,” “Adam 12,” “The Munsters,” “Sanford & Sons,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Love American Style,” “Stars of Jazz” and “The Bob Hope Show.”
In later years, Abbott directed episodes of “Welcome Back Kotter” and “Alice.” He made his movie directing debut in 1966 with the quirky comedy “The Last of the Secret Agents” starring Marty Allen and Steve Rossi.
He also occasionally worked as an actor and comedian, with roles in the Abbott and Costello comedies “Who Done It?” and “Rio Rita.”
He is survived by his wife Dominique; children Christine, William, Jennifer and Norman Jr.; his sister, veteran script supervisor Betty Abbott Griffin; three step-sons and four grandchildren.
Born: 7/11/1922, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 7/9/2016, Valencia, California, U.S.A.
Norman Abbott’s western – dialogue director:
The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap - 1947