Veteran film/television/stage producer and commentator Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr. died Jan. 4 of natural causes in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 92.
Starting as an exec in the nascent TV business, Swope Jr. was a producer for TV, features and the theater, as well as a host and commentator with his own radio and television shows.
Born in New York, he was the son of Herbert Bayard Swope Sr., winner of the first Pulizer Prize for reporting and a founder of the Algonquin round table.
Swope, Jr. grew up among his father’s associates such as F. Scott, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Philip Barry and Harpo Marx. At the time of his death he was compiling these memories an an autobiography, “A Perfectly Normal Childhood.”
Swope, Jr. was educated at Princeton University, then served in the U. S. Navy before joining CBS Television as a remote unit director. He moved into the new field of sportscasting and then joined NBC as a producer/director in the early days of live television, serving as executive producer in charge of “Wide Wide World.” He went on to produce and direct series and specials such as as “Lights Out,” “The Clock,” “The Black Robe,” “Robert Montgomery Presents,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Climax,” “Five Fingers,” and the long running “The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis,” in which he discovered a young actor named Bob Denver. Later, he became producer/host of “This Was TV, Growth of a Giant,” and his own radio and television commentary shows, “Swope’s Scope” and “Critic’s Views.”
He later became an executive producer at 20th Century-Fox and the Walter Reade Organization, and produced “Hilda Crane,” “Three Brave Men,” “True Story of Jesse James,” “The Bravados” and “The Fiend Who Walked the West.” He also served as director and co-Producer of “Step on a Crack,” “Fragile Fox,,” and “Fair Game for Lovers.”
Swope, whose actress wife Margaret Hayes died in 1977, is survived by their son, Herbert Bayard Swope III; daughter Tracy Brooks Swope Avildsen; two stepchildren, Elizabeth and Sam Warriner, by his second wife, the late Elizabeth Edgar Swope; three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Donations may be made to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.