June 16, 2011

Emmy-Winning Game Show Director Paul Alter Dies at 89

In addition to decades of game show work, Alter prevailed in a noteworthy lawsuit.

Paul Alter, a game show director and producer who won a Daytime Emmy in 1982 for directing Family Feud and The Price Is Right, died June 11, 2011, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 89.

Over the course of a career that spanned five decades, Alter worked on some 60 game shows and other productions, including I’ve Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, What’s My Line, Password, Man Against Crime, Playhouse 90 and The Perry Como Show.

In addition to his television work, Alter gained attention for a 1992 lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co. over similarities between a treatment he wrote years before and the storyline of the film Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.

In his suit, Alter listed 17 areas of similarity between his work, which he had submitted to Disney in the late 1970s, and the 1992 movie, a sequel to the hit 1989 comedy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. After a jury sided with Alter, Disney settled with him.

A native of Chicago, Alter studied piano with Teddy Wilson of the Benny Goodman Quartet and during World War II he served as an aerial photographer for the U.S. Army.

He earned his first television credit in 1950, when he directed Beat the Clock. He was also worked as a producer, and drew upon his music background to compose the theme for To Tell the Truth.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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