Legendary Emmy-winning comedy writer, director, and producer Hal Kanter has passed away at the age of 92 due to complications from pneumonia, according to the Los Angeles Times. Kanter had a career that spanned nearly seven decades and his unparalleled resume included creating the groundbreaking NBC sitcom, Julia, working as a writer and producer on Chico and the Man, and, perhaps most notably, writing the Oscar telecast for nearly 33 years. Two of Kanter’s three Emmys came from his work on the Academy Awards. (His first Emmy was for the variety program The George Gobel Show.)
In addition to the indelible mark he left on television, which also included creating The Jimmy Stewart Show and working briefly as an executive producer on All in the Family, Kanter wrote for the big screen as well. His film credits include writing Road to Bali, Money From Home, Artists and Models, Pocket Full of Miracles, and The Rose Tattoo, which he collaborated on with Tennessee Williams. Kanter stepped behind the camera on occasion, directing the 1957 Elvis Presley drama Loving You, which he also co-wrote.
A recipient of the Writers Guild of America’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television, Kanter penned his memoir So Far, So Funny: My Life in Show Business in 1999 and was described by the LA Times as being “the go-to wit to act as master of ceremonies or speak at Hollywood functions and other events.” Carl Reiner echoed the sentiment, telling the Times, “What a dear man. He was considered one of the wits of the industry; there’s no question about it. Any time he was called upon, he always could make the audience laugh.”