"I used to admire [comedians]…because they would say something and 200 people in the audience would laugh. It was my job when I was doing 'Sanford' to make 20 million people all over the country laugh at the same time."
About This Interview
In his nearly two-and-a-half-hour interview, Saul Turteltaub tells the story of his first big break into television, which came through his former summer camp girlfriend, Shari Lewis. He discusses writing on various variety and talk shows, including On Broadway Tonight, The Pat Boone Show, and The Carol Burnett Show, before he and partner Bernie Orenstein became producers on The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show. Turteltaub then details two major series that he and Orenstein wrote and produced: That Girl (the end of which he blames on his push to have Marlo Thomas' character get married) and Sanford and Son. For Sanford and Son, he discusses working with Redd Foxx, the legacy of the show, and its spin-offs. He tells the story of creating What's Happening!! with Orenstein, including working with Fred Berry as "Rerun" and his regrets over not casting Gary Coleman on the show. Turteltaub then talks about his work on Kate & Allie and Cosby, and concludes by discussing career highlights and giving advice to aspiring writers and producers. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on May 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills, CA.