William Asher led an extraordinary life. Over his career he created, produced, and directed more than two dozen television series such as Bewitched and Beach Blanket Bingo; furthermore he married Elizabeth Montgomery and Joyce Bulifant (both actresses).
He created several successful entertainment networks that revolutionized broadcasting. Playboy taught him an invaluable lesson: true wealth comes from owning businesses.
Early Life and Education
William Asher was born August 8th 1921 in New York City and left school early in order to live with his alcoholic and abusive mother, before going on to direct and produce more than two dozen television shows, winning one Emmy out of four nominations.
Asher was best-known for directing and producing the hit TV series Bewitched starring Elizabeth Montgomery. Additionally, he oversaw other television programs like The Donna Reed Show, Fibber McGee & Molly and even revamped versions of Shirley Temple Shows.
Asher was also a successful nightclub owner. His business acumen provided the foundation for economic success while his operations expertise ensured his handpicked staff always excelled. Married four times and having one son John Asher (now an actor/director). John died July 16, 2012 aged 90 in Palm Desert, California.
In the Sixties, Asher produced The Paul Lynde Show and Temperatures Rising as well as directing episodes for Lucas Tanner, Marcus Welby M.D., Operation Petticoat and Tabitha (a spin off from Bewitched). Later he created and developed the television series The New Temperatures Rising; during the Seventies he directed episodes for The Dinah Shore Show, Fibber McGee & Molly, The Donna Reed Show as well as revamped Shirley Temple show as well as television reunion movies such as I Dream of Jeannie Fifteen Years Later and Return to Green Acres
Asher was born on 8 August 1921 in New York City and married four times: Dani Sue Nolan (1951-1961), Elizabeth Montgomery (1963-1973), Joyce Bulifant (1993-1996) and Meredith Coffin McMachen (2000-2012). From these marriages came three children, as well as ten grandchildren – he died 16 July 2012 in Palm Desert, California.
Achievement and Honors
William Asher was an innovator of television who helped pioneer sitcoms. He directed over two dozen series, including over 100 episodes of I Love Lucy. Additionally, Asher wrote and directed several 1960s beach party movies starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon.
Asher co-created and co-directed the Patty Duke Show alongside fellow TV legends Danny Thomas and Dinah Shore. Additionally, he directed several Linda Lavin-starring Alice episodes as well as Private Benjamin. Nominated for four Emmys but winning just one with Bewitched; married three times (Meredith Coffin, Joyce Bulifant and Danni Sue Nolan); had one son John who became both actor and director.
He passed away at 90 in Palm Desert, California and was a member of both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and National Film Preservation Foundation.
William Asher was an early pioneer in television sitcoms and three-time Emmy winner for I Love Lucy. Additionally, Asher directed and produced other popular programs like Bewitched before his passing at age 91 in Palm Desert, California on July 16, 2012.
Early on in his career, he spent time at Universal’s mailroom before transitioning to film sets where he quickly found work as both scriptwriter and assistant director. As filler material in theaters or as advertisements on television – fillers he produced were used by Universal as filler material or would become interstitial material during movies shown there.
He met actress Elizabeth Montgomery while directing the 1960 film Johnny Cool for Universal and later married her. Together they had three children including actor John Asher.
Asher was an expert at finding ideal locations for his nightclubs, music venues and restaurants. He leased only top real estate which became the cornerstone of his empire.
He was an adept showman who understood the value of branding; using his name on various products such as vodka, apparel and snowboards under his own label.
Asher directed or produced two dozen television shows. Additionally, he earned critical acclaim as an acclaimed film director. Being Leo himself, Asher relished being in the limelight. Marrying three times (first to Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery who bore three children for them); later marrying actress Joyce Bulifant and adopting her son; currently living in Palm Desert California on an expansive Spanish Colonial property of 3.3 acres).