Producer Bud Yorkin Remembered: William Friedkin, Bill Clinton Pay Tribute at Celebration

Producer Bud Yorkin: William Friedkin, Bill
Courtesy of Chasen PR

Prolific producer Bud Yorkin, who passed away in August at the age of 89, was remembered warmly Monday at the Directors Guild headquarters as one of the most generous personalities in Hollywood.

“Everything I learned about directing, I learned from Bud Yorkin,” said director Robert Benton. “His enthusiasm and his joy for life could get you through almost anything. I will carry him with me, as will most of us, for the rest of my life.”

The two-hour program offered a recap of Yorkin’s lengthy and varied career, which included profoundly influential shows such as “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “Maude,” “An Evening With Fred Astaire” and “Blade Runner.”

“Bud was quick to give credit to others and was slow to get it back,” William Friedkin told the audience of several hundred. “Bud was not one to blow his own horn — he did that for everyone else.”

Friedkin also said that Yorkin was instrumental in persuading his then-girlfriend — and eventual spouse — Sherry Lansing to look past Friedkin’s reputation as a wild man who had directed “The Exorcist.”

“I didn’t get such good reviews from a lot of you,” Friedkin recalled. “And my wife has told me a number of times since that Bud Yorkin was the clincher for her.”

The night included taped tributes from an array of personalities, including the 42nd President of the United States.

“Just like his shows, Bud had a wonderful way of making me think and laugh,” President Bill Clinton said. “I know that Hollywood won’t be the same without him.”

Yorkin’s widow Cynthia said she had wanted to produce an event to honor her husband for many years.

“I feel that Bud’s an unsung hero and that’s why I did this event,” she recalled. “But he would never have let me do it while he was alive.”

A one-hour video tribute included a plethora of clips from Martin & Lewis, Dinah Shore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, Bobby Darin, Don Rickles, Carol Channing, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington.

The event also included tributes from Yorkin’s sons David and Michael, daughters Jessica and  Nicole (an exec producer of “The Killing”), and musical performances by Gregg Field’s Band, Monica Mancini, Patti Austin, Siedah Garrett and Robert Wagner.

Alcon co-topper Andrew Kosove noted that Yorkin is due for one piece of posthumous recognition — a producing credit on the “Blade Runner” sequel, due to shoot next year.

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