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October 10, 2008

Producer-Director Lloyd Thaxton Dies



winner hosted popular 1960s dance party series
before producing for Fight Back! and Today

Emmy®-winning producer and director Lloyd Thaxton died of multiple myeloma Sunday at his home in the Los Angeles area Sunday. He was 81.

While the Toledo, Ohio, native earned several awards producing and directing long-running consumer advocacy series Fight Back! With David Horowitz, Thaxton is widely remembered as well as the host of his popular 1960s teen dance party series. 

The Lloyd Thaxton Show—previously known as Thaxton's Hop and earlier, Lloyd Thaxton's Record Shop on KCOP-TV Channel 13—grew so strongly and steadily in Southern California's regional ratings after its launch in 1959 that the daily program earned national syndication in 1964.

Though the show featured teens dancing to records and live musical guest performances like American Bandstand, Thaxton carved his own distinct comic presence as a host. His zany lip-synching, puppets and "finger puppets," which he drew on his thumb, kept fans tuning in for years.  Popular recording artists such as Sonny and Cher, Jan and Dean and the Righteous Brothers visited the show.

His later served as producer and director of Fight Back! With David Horowitz from 1976 through 1992, and a producer for NBC's The Today Show.

The Navy veteran is survived by his wife Barbara Thaxton, a daughter, two stepsons and a grandson.

Donations may be made in Thaxton's name to the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Research, c/o Dr. James Berenson, 9201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 300, West Hollywood, CA 90069.

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