Jul 17, 2012
The death of Bill Asher, The Inventor Of The Sitcom, is being mourned by the entertainment industry and 60 years of fans worldwide as his episodes continue to air on television today.
Director-producer William Asher was the genius behind classic megahit TV episodes on "I Love Lucy," "Bewitched," "Gidget," "Alice," "The Twilight Zone" and "The Dukes of Hazzard" as well as the legendary '60s beach movies during a career that defined the situation comedy format.
Asher, who retired in the Southern California desert communities of La Quinta and Indian Wells two decades ago, died peacefully with wife Meredith Asher at his bedside. His preliminary cause of death is "complications from Alzheimer's disease."
William Milton Asher was born on August 8, 1921 to actress Lillian Bonner and movie producer Ephraim M. Asher. The young family moved to Los Angeles, California when William was 10 years old, beginning a lifelong fascination with Hollywood.
Asher famously wrote and directed the internationally popular beach movies of the 1960s starring Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon and Stevie Wonder.
Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini were visions of paradise for global movie audiences that made the state of California attractive for tourism and relocation, turning William Asher into an unofficial California ambassador to the world.
Bestowed with a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Asher was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award and four Emmys before he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gold level for 50 years of service in the television industry.
Before his death, William Asher recalled the pinnacles of his years as a successful Hollywood director:
"When kids see the films now, they can get some idea of what the '60s were like. The whole thing was a dream, of course. But it was a nice dream."
Bill Asher is being mourned by Californians as a cultural legend in California history who, along with The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas, globally publicized the Golden State as a paradise for the common man in the mid-20th century.
The late William Asher is survived by his widow, Meredith Asher, his children and grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for September 29, 2012 at Desert Springs Church in Palm Desert, California.
William Asher 1921-2012