Longtime TV producer Ralph Andrews died Friday at the age of 87 from Alzheimer’s disease.
Andrews was best known for the slew of game shows he produced, including “The Liar’s Club,” “By The Numbers,” “Zoom,” “Show Me,” “You Don’t Say,” I’ll Bet,” “Wedding Party,” “The Family Game” and many more.
Andrews was co-founder of the Entertainment Industries Council, which he founded with columnist Jack Andrews to fight drug and alcohol abuse. He also produced films including “The Silent Treatment” and “Wild in the Sky.”
Raised in Saginaw, Mich., he started out as a disc jockey and then moved to California, where he landed a page job at NBC. He formed his first production company with David Wolper, producing early reality show “Divorce Hearing,” then produced and hosted “Lie Detector,” which challenged public figures to take polygraph tests.
He then became director of live programming for Desilu, overseeing gameshows such as “By the Numbers” and “Show Me” for KTLA. After leaving Desilu, he started his own production company and sold “You Don’t Say” to NBC, going on to sell many more such as “The Family Game” with Bob Barker and “It Takes Two” with Vin Scully.
He also produced and hosted “Lingo” in Canada and produced shows such as “Boggle” and “Trivial Pursuit” for international territories.
Andrews was encouraged by senator Bob Dole to work for the Republican National Committee, where he trained candidates for on-camera appearances. He later bought an interest in Palm Springs’ ABC affiliate KPLM-TV and starred in a talkshow, “The Troublemaker,” before selling the station to Esquire magazine. After moving to Ventura Country, he bought the Harbor News paper and revived his Troublemaker column.
For many years, he tried to make a biopic of Poland’s Lech Walesa, and though it was never made, he remained friends with Walesa. He made his final appearance in the 2014 documentary “The Immortalists,” which was about his scientist son Bill Andrews.
Andrews is survived by his wife, five sons, two daughters, 15 grandchildren, and 20 great grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.