Was behind the wheel in 'Wheel of Fortune'

Gameshow art director Ed Flesh died July 15 in Mission Hills, Calif., of congestive heart failure brought on by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 79.

One of Flesh’s most famous designs was that for “Wheel of Fortune”: He conceived of a spinning wheel that spins horizontally; the original concept was for a vertically oriented wheel.

Flesh began his showbiz career designing Off Broadway projects and landed at NBC as supervisor of scenic design on various soap operas, talk and game shows. Flesh eventually relocated to NBC in Burbank as the senior art director on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and also designed several gameshows at the network.

After leaving NBC to create his own company, Flesh designed gameshows for all three broadcast networks and for syndication such as “The $25,000 Pyramid,” “Name That Tune” and “Jeopardy!” as well as “Second Chance,” “Press Your Luck,” “Celebrity Sweepstakes,” “50 Grand Slam” and “To Say The Least.” He also designed sets for talkshows: David Letterman’s first effort for NBC daytime, “The Montel Williams Show” and a few episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Flesh, born and raised in Philadelphia, completed his undergraduate work at Franklin and Marshall College, then spent three years doing graduate work in scenic design at the Yale Drama School.

He is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers.

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