1963, I would most certainly not be here today writing a heartfelt
and glowing foreword to this highly entertaining memoir.
-- Carl Reiner
Before Larry David, before Louis C.K., before Ray Romano, there was the true Golden Age of television comedy, an era of brilliant and landmark programming that dominated the dial from the 50's to the 70's. Bill Persky, the five-time Emmy Award-winning writer, director and producer of over 300 TV shows and films was at the center of that special time in TV history. Along the way, he was responsible for some of the most successful and acclaimed sitcoms of all time, including the classics The Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl and Kate & Allie.
Persky blazed a trail through television during a time of tremendous social upheaval, when TV was still discovering its power to influence and move audiences. To this day, Persky's groundbreaking female characters, such as That Girl's Ann Marie, remain pop culture icons.
In his memoir, My Life is a Situation Comedy, Bill shares his tales of a life well lived and vividly recollected. Persky's touching, often hilarious and occasionally alarming backstage portrayal is one of triumphs and disappointments, celebrity and calamity, romances and breakups. "I attempted to make things right and maintain a semblance of dignity," he writes, "while constantly slipping on the banana peels of life." Lucky for us, many of those slip ups wound up as fodder for the TV episodes we came to know and love so well. My Life is a Situation Comedy is populated by the larger than life legends and one-of-a-kind characters that figured so prominently in Persky's world. From his work with Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show, to a surreal six weeks in London with the mythic Orson Welles, Persky knew them all and somehow lived to tell the tale.
Among the marquee names that sparkled brightly in Persky's universe are Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby, Sid Caesar, Steve Allen, Goldie Hawn, Peter Sellers, Susan St. James, Jane Curtin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Tim Conway, Andy Williams, Cary Grant and The Smothers Brothers.
Bill Persky is a 5 time Emmy Award winning writer, director producers for such shows as the Dick Van Dyke Show, That Girl, Sid Caesar, Bill Cosby and Kate And Allie.
After a start at WNEW radio in the mid 50’s, he moved to California and writing for a variety of shows including, The Steve Allan Show, The Andy Williams Show, Julie Andrews Show, McHales Navy and The Joey Bishop Show, until he found a home with Carl Reiner on The Dick Van Dyke Show. After 3 years as a writer, story editor, And two Emmys, Bill and his partner Sam Denoff, followed by creating “That Girl”, for Marlo Thomas.
In the mid 70s’, the successful partnership ended amicably, as Bill went on a new path as a Director, specializing in television pilots. From 1975 to 82 he directed 22, of which 16 were put on the air as series, the most memorable being “Who’s The Boss?”.
There were also 5 television films, and the Paramount feature, “Serial”, before he moved to New York to produce and direct 100 episodes of the series, Kate and Allie, winning an Emmy for directing.
Of late he has compiled a memoir of stories, both professional and personal, which he performs as a one-man show, “WHISPER WHOOPIE” and is a contributing writer to USA Today.
In addition, he is a guest lecture at NYU Film School and Yale University, and teaches comedy writing at The New York Film Academy
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