Herman Rush, Former President of Columbia Pictures Television, Dies at 94

Herman Rush, Former President of Columbia Pictures Television, Dies at 94

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Herman Rush, a prominent television pioneer and former president of Columbia Pictures Television, died of natural causes in Los Angeles on Dec. 12. He was 94.

Rush got his start in the television industry in 1951 as a salesman at Official Films. In 1957, he acquired television syndication firm Flamingo Films, which he turned into a major independent syndication company. Rush also had an extensive career as head of the talent division at the agency Creative Management Associates, where he worked from 1960-1971.

In the late 1960s, Rush acquired the popular British sitcom “Till Death To Us Part” from Lord Lew Grade. He sold the intellectual property to the late television titan Norman Lear, who turned that show into “All in the Family.” The hit sitcom starring Caroll O’Connor ran for nine seasons on CBS. Rush also imported, repackaged and produced multiple BBC comedy television series including “For the Love of Ada” and “Love Thy Neighbor.” He also produced the Americanized pilots of “Dad’s Army” (which became “The Rear Guard” in the U.S.”) and “Are You Being Served” (“The Beans of Boston” in the U.S.), among others.

Rush independently packaged and produced made-for-television movies and comedy series for ABC between 1971 and 1975. In 1979, Rush served as president of Marble Arch Television, before joining Columbia Pictures as president of Columbia Pictures Television Group.

At Columbia, Rush oversaw the production of more than one hundred hours of movies and mini-series for television. He put more than a dozen series on air, including “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” “Mike Hammer” and “Designing Women.” Among other accomplishments at the company, he acquired the library of Spelling-Goldberg, which included “Fantasy Island,” “Charlies Angels,” “T.J. Hooker” and “Hart to Hart.” He also oversaw Columbia’s ventures related to first run syndication.

Rush was an executive producer of the talk show “The Montel Williams Show” for 17 years; he also executive produced “The American Red Cross Emergency Test” starring John Ritter and “A User Guide to Planet Earth: The American Environment Test” starring Tom Selleck.

Rush was recognized by industry groups including the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters and The Caucus for Writers, Producers and Directors.

Rush was married to his wife Joan, who died in October, for more than 72 years. They had two children, Mandie and Jim.

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