You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Acad founder Syd Cassyd dies

91-year-old scribe, pioneer succumbs to lengthy illness

TV Acad founder Syd Cassyd died Friday at his home in Los Angeles following a lengthy illness. He was 91.

The longtime writer and TV pioneer established the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1946 as a central library and archive to preserve the history of TV during its early years.

He served as the Acad’s fourth president and in 1955 received his first Emmy, the President’s Award, for his contributions to ATAS. In 1972, he received his second Emmy, the 25th Anniversary Governor’s Award, and in 1991, he was honored with his third, a special Emmy.

“All of the 10,000 members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences mourn the loss of our founder,” said Meryl Marshall, chairman of the Academy. “Everyone in the broadcasting industry has gained by Syd Cassyd’s vision in establishing our Academy more than 50 years ago, when television was in its infancy.”

During World War II, Cassyd served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps as a film editor under Col. Frank Capra. Following the war, he moved to Hollywood where he worked as an editor for Boxoffice magazine and as a grip on the Paramount lot.

When Cassyd was interviewed at the time of the Academy’s 50th anniversary in 1996, he noted that when he founded the ATAS, seven people showed up for the first meeting. “But by the fifth meeting, there were 250 members. That’s how rapidly we grew.”

Cassyd recruited radio and film star Edgar Bergen to be its first president; Bergen took office Jan. 7, 1947. A year later, the Academy was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization with its primary aim being “to promote the cultural, educational and research aim of television.”

Before World War II, Cassyd taught film at NYU-Washington Square College. While there, he also wrote and narrated a radio series, “Human Relations in Motion Pictures.”

In 1952, he produced 150 live episodes of the children’s shows “Candy’s Playhouse” and “Young Musical America.” He also produced numerous documentaries and founded the first monthly television magazine of criticism, TV News.

Cassyd, a high school dropout, was proud of his six-month appointment in 1960 as an administrative aide to science great Linus Pauling at Caltech.

Cassyd received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Aug. 15, 1996, as part of the Academy’s 50th anniversary celebration.

He is survived by his wife Miriam and a daughter.

Services are noon today at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd.

Family suggests contributions in his name be made to the Acad of TV Arts and Sciences Foundation.

More TV

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content