Frank Peppiatt, co-creator, writer and producer of “Hee Haw,” one of the longest-running and most profitable television variety programs, died Nov. 7 of bladder cancer in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He was 85.
Peppiatt created and/or wrote and produced variety shows for Andy Williams, Cher, Perry Como, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Steve Allen, Judy Garland, Jonathan Winters, Barbara Mandrell, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Jackie Gleason and Grace Kelly, among others, amounting to nearly 2,500 hours of primetime shows.
Frank Grant Peppiatt was born in Toronto and began his entertainment industry career in the 1950s in that city, where he and John Aylesworth co-created and starred in the first Canadian variety show, “After Hours,” on CBC. Peppiatt and Aylesworth also appeared on the show as well on their CBC creation “On Stage”; much later, Peppiatt had a recurring role as Admiral Frank Borkman on the ABC sitcom “Operation Petticoat.”
Peppiatt’s memoir “When Variety Was King: Memoir of a TV Pioneer: Featuring Jackie Gleason, sonny and Cher, ‘Hee Haw’ and More” will be published in April.
He is survived by his wife, Caroline Peppiatt, two daughters from a previous marriage, Francesca-Robyn and Marney Peppiatt, and four grandchildren.