Bob Banner dies at 89

Emmy-winning TV producer worked on 'Carol,' 'Gold'

Emmy-winning TV producer and director Bob Banner, who exec produced “Candid Camera,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Solid Gold” and “Showtime at the Apollo,” died Wednesday of Parkinson’s disease at the Motion Picture & Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 89.

Banner worked in early television, beginning in Chicago as a production assistant on kids’ show “Kukla, Fran and Ollie” in 1948 but quickly moving up, directing episodes of “Garroway at Large,” a pioneering talkshow that ran 1949-51.

He moved to New York, where he eventually became a director on the renowned episodic anthology series “Omnibus.” He also worked with Dave Garroway again, helming “The Dave Garroway Show.”

Banner won an Emmy in 1958 for director of “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show,” which he also produced.

Also in 1958, he took over as producer of “The Garry Moore Show.” He eventually brought in Carol Burnett, who had appeared on “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show,” as a regular on the variety series.

Before exec producing “The Carol Burnett Show” in the 1970s, Banner produced some of Burnett’s TV specials, including 1963’s “An Evening With Carol Burnett,” as well as “Once Upon a Mattress,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical that starred Burnett.

He was the executive producer on 1964’s “Freedom Spectacular,” an all-star show benefitting the NAACP that featured Harry Belafonte, Nat “King” Coke, Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr. and many others. (Decades later, he would exec produce 1988 AIDS benefit concert “That’s What Friends Are For,” hosted by Dionne Warwick.) On a lighter note, he was exec producer of 1978 special “A Salute to American Imagination,” celebrating Ford Motor Co.’s 75th anniversary, 1995’s “Happy Birthday, George Gershwin!” and specials for Perry Como and Andy Williams.

Banner also had a nose for mystery: He exec produced the critically acclaimed 1967 telepic thriller “Warning Shot,” starring David Janssen; “My Sweet Charlie”; and “My Husband Is Missing.”

His last project was the late ’90s series “Real Kids, Real Adventures.”

Banner was born in Ennis, Texas, and graduated from Southern Methodist U. in 1943 before serving in the Navy during WWII. After the war he received a master’s degree from Northwestern U.’s theater arts department.

Banner is survived by his wife, Alice; three sons; and two grandchildren.

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