×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV producer Lillian Gallo dies at 84

Was behind telepics includiing the landmark 'Hustling'

Television producer Lillian Gallo, perhaps best known for critically acclaimed 1975 telepic “Hustling,” based on Gail Sheehy’s book on prostitution in America, died June 6 at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, Calif., of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 84.

Gallo began in the theater. She was film and theater writer-director George Axelrod’s assistant on his 1955 Broadway production of “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter,” starring Jayne Mansfield and Walter Matthau, and then worked on other Broadway shows, including “Auntie Mame,” with Rosalind Russell, and “Mr. Wonderful,” with Sammy Davis Jr.

In Hollywood, Gallo worked with “Mr. Wonderful” director Jack Donahue on TV’s “The Frank Sinatra Show,” beginning her working relationship with producer William Self, who became her mentor. Gallo worked closely with Self on TV series at 20th Century Fox including “Peyton Place,” “Batman” and “Julia.”

After her years at Fox, Gallo worked at ABC with Barry Diller, who made her the director of movies of the weekend. She supervised 22 movies for the network, including Steven Spielberg’s “Duel.” Diller gave Gallo her first shot at producing with 1972’s “Haunts of the Very Rich,” starring Cloris Leachman and Ed Asner.

Gallo eventually made a production deal at MTM Enterprises. There she developed her own projects and championed up-and-coming talents such as James L. Brooks and Gary David Goldberg.

Gallo’s productions often featured strong female characters and dealt with social issues. “Hustling,” penned by Fay Kanin and starring Lee Remick and Jill Clayburgh, frankly depicted prostitution in New York City; “Fun and Games,” starring Valerie Harper, examined workplace sexual harassment. “The Stranger Who Looks Like Me” concerned adoptees searching for their biological roots.

Gallo also presented the romantic farce “Playmates,” which starred Alan Alda and Connie Stevens; NBC’s hit miniseries “Princess Daisy,” and thriller “The Lookalike.”

Gallo was born Lillian Drazek to Polish immigrants and grew up in Springfield, Mass., where as children she and her sister sang on the radio as the Drazek Sisters.

After graduating from the U. of Michigan in 1949 with a degree in journalism, Gallo was selected by the Marine Corps as one of 50 college graduates to study under its new program, the Women Officers Training Class, at Quantico, Va. Gallo earned the rank of captain and served in the Pentagon under assistant secretary of Defense Anna M. Rosenberg.

Gallo’s husband, actor Lew Gallo, died in 2000. She is survived by a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, June 19, at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

More TV

  • El Pájaro Amarillo

    ‘The Yellow Bird’ Takes Off from Pamplona’s Conecta Fiction

    PAMPLONA, Spain — Actor-turned-producer Antonio Resines attended this year’s Conecta Fiction TV co-production and networking event with his proposed series “The Yellow Bird,” based on a true story. In the 1920s aviation was in its infancy, and scores of pilots dedicated their lives to crashing through seemingly unbreakable barriers. Among them, Armand Lotti, a young [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Terry Bradshaw

    Fox Sets Fall Premiere Dates for 'Empire' Final Season, 'Masked Singer' Season 2

    Fox has officially set its fall premiere dates for the 2019-2020 season. As was previously announced, the 71st Emmy Awards will air live on Fox on Sunday, Sept. 22. “9-1-1” returns for its third season on Monday, Sept. 23, leading in to the series premiere of the new Fox drama series “Prodigal Son.” Tuesday, Sept. [...]

  • FX Announces 'American Horror Story: 1984'

    FX Announces 'American Horror Story: 1984' Premiere Date

    “American Horror Story: 1984” will premiere on September 18 at 10 p.m., FX announced Monday. The cabler also announced the returns of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Mayans MC” and “Mr. Inbetween.” “1984” is the ninth installment of Ryan Murphy’s horror drama. The uber-producer previously unveiled a teaser for the season, stylized in the vein [...]

  • The Loudest Voice Review

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of June 24, 2019: 'The Loudest Voice' Premieres on Showtime

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “The Loudest Voice” premieres on Showtime and Ramy Youssef’s stand-up special drops on [...]

  • Ultratumba

    ‘From the Dead’ Tops Conecta Fiction’s Pitch Digiseries Session

    PAMPLONA, Spain — This year’s Conecta Fiction, Spain’s upstart international TV co-pro and networking event now in its third year, hosted a Pitch Digiseries session, an hour-long event which saw five ambitious short-form projects pitch to industry professionals gathered in the northern city of Pamplona. While drama may be the name of the game among [...]

  • MIL-COLMILLOS

    Conecta Fiction: Colombia’s Rhayuela Films Advances on ‘Casting,’ ‘Agencia de Detectives’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  Now in post-production on HBO Latin America’s action horror thriller “Mil Colmillos,” one of the biggest series the pay TV operator has made out of Latin America, Colombia’s Rhayuela is advancing on development of two new TV dramas:“Agencia de Detectives” and “Casting.” Set in an unidentified Latin American country, and based on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content