Alan “Bud” Yorkin, a film and TV pioneer best known for his work on All in the Family, has died. The esteemed producer, writer, and director died Tuesday in his home in Bel Air of natural causes at the age of 89, according to a family spokesman.
Yorkin was widely known for his work with TV giant Norman Lear on socially relevant sitcoms such as Sanford and Son and What’s Happening!!, among others. He won three Emmys and was nominated for four more; in addition, the sitcoms he worked won a total of 25 Emmys and 10 Golden Globe awards.
Yorkin also had a wealth of film directing credits including Never Too Late, Twice In a Lifetime, Love Hurts, and The Thief Who Came to Dinner. He was a co-executive producer for 1982’s Blade Runner, and was slated to produce its upcoming Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel.
Yorkin, who began writing comedy sketches while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, got his start in television as a camera engineer for NBC. It wasn’t long before his comedic talents landed him at the network’s variety showcase The Colgate Comedy Hour, where he worked as a stage manager, writer, and director. Colgate paved the way for work on more variety series and event-style specials — including The Dinah Shore Show and his Emmy-winning An Evening With Fred Astaire — and was also where Yorkin first met Norman Lear.
In the late 1950s, Yorkin and Lear teamed to form Tandem Productions and collaborated on numerous TV productions through the 1960s. But in 1971, they struck a cultural nerve with All in the Family, based on the British comedy Till Death Do Us Part. With its bigoted, blue-collar protagonist Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), All in the Family tackled the political and social issues of the day and laid the groundwork for a wave of sitcoms featuring characters of diverse backgrounds.
Yorkin was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2002, and in 2003, he received the David Susskind Lifetime Achievement Award in Television from the Producer’s Guild of America. He also played an influential role in the American Film Institute.
Yorkin is survived by his wife, actress Cynthia Sikes Yorkin; his children David, Michael, Nicole, and Jessica; and four grandchildren.