William Clotworthy, a former standards and practices executive who was referred to as “Doctor No” by the “Saturday Night Live” team, died in hospice in Salt Lake City, Utah on Aug. 19. He was 95.
Clotworthy’s son, actor Robert Clotworthy, confirmed the news to Variety.
Born on Jan. 13, 1926, in Westfield, NJ., Clotworthy started in the industry as an NBC page in the 1940s, then went on to a career in advertising at Madison Avenue firm, BBD&O. Some of the stars and shows he worked with include Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby and “Your Hit Parade.”
After advertising, Clotworthy returned to NBC and joined the standards and practices department in the 1970s — and was the on set censor on “Saturday Night Live,” where the cast and crew dubbed him “Doctor No.” During his time at NBC, he also oversaw programs such as “Late Night With David Letterman” and “The Cosby Show.” Clotworthy stayed as censor between 1979 and 1991.
He told the Television Academy in an interview, “Somebody asked me one day, ‘what’s the first thing you do when you read these [Saturday Night Live] scripts?’ I said, ‘I laugh.’ Now after I laugh, I may go in and cut it to ribbons, but we were human people and we had senses of humor. We also had a job to do to help keep the network on the air and I think we did it pretty well.”
Upon his retirement in 1991, Clotworthy pursued writing and became a prolific author, writing a memoir about his time at “SNL” titled “Saturday Night Live: Equal Opportunity Offender.” Clotworthy also wrote several books about George Washington, the First Ladies and guidebooks on Presidential homes and sites.
Clotworthy is survived by his wife Jo Ann, sons Robert, an actor and narrator; and Donald daughters Lynne and Amy; stepsons Peter and Bradford; grandson Will, as well as nieces Susan, Jodi, Erin and nephew Bruce.
Donations may be made to the American Red Cross.