Paul Alter

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Paul Alter is an American television director and producer.


The American television director and producer, Paul Alter is born on March 11, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. Before starting his TV game-show director and producer career, he studied piano with Teddy Wilson from the Benny Goodman Quartet. After years of working as a TV director and producer, he finally decided to put his talent to use and composed the 1969 theme music for To Tell the Truth. He studied at NYU and graduated from the Yale School of Drama. Some of the best shows which he produced and directed include "I've Got a Secret", "To Tell the Truth", "What's My Line", "Password", "Family Feud" and "The Price is Right", "Man Against Crime", "Playhouse 90", "Perry Como Show", Member of ASCAP, DGA.

Starting as TV Director

Determined to explore the opportunities of the entertainment industry, Alter got his first job as director of the game show “Beat the Clock” in 1950. While he was working on this project Mark Goodson took notice of him. It wasn’t long until he became a key figure at Mark Goodson Productions, specialized in game shows. This long-lasting association with Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions resulted with the creation of shows such as What's My Line?, I've Got a Secret and To Tell the Truth, and many others. From 1956 until 2000, Alter helped with the production of over 60 game shows, and directed almost all of the show’s pilots. Despite his hard work and commitment to the production, he wasn’t even credited as a director for some of the shows, and other people took his credit. Paul directed and produced around 60 game shows and other productions throughout the course of his career that spanned fifty years. In addition to that he also did some work outside the TV game show scene. Namely, he edited and scripted episodes of the 1950s crime drama “Man Against Crime,” took the leadership position in some episodes of “The Perry Como Show”, and occasionally helped director Sidney Lumet with the editing of the TV series “Danger”. In 1972, he even produced Simon Gray’s “A Wise Child” which was played on Broadway.

Involvements in Music

Although he is best known as a game show director and producer, many people remember him for his lawsuit against Walt Disney Co. This trial brought him some serious notice and fame. Before filing a lawsuit, Alter asked Disney Company for a letter of apology, but they refused and left him no other option but to fight for his rights. In his noteworthy lawsuit, the television producer claimed that that there were too many similarities, or 17 similarity areas to be more specific, between his 12-page sketch written in the late 1970s and submitted to Disney, and their movie “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid,” from 1992. After considering all elements, the jury made its verdict and sided with Alter. He was awarded with $300,000 in damages.

Last Stage

From 1986 to 2000, Alter served as director and producer of both versions for the hit show “The Price Is Right”. This show had more than 8,000 episodes aired, and is still considered as one of the longest-running network series in United States television history. This TV legend also directed the original version of Family Feud on ABC, which ran from 1976 to 1985. In 1988 the show was revived and he returned to direct that version as well. During his long career, Paul Alter was awarded with two Daytime Emmys. He received his first Daytime Emmy in 1982 for “Family Feud”, while in 1996 he won his second Daytime Emmy award for “The Price Is Right”. In addition to his winnings, it is also important to mention that he has been nominated 14 times in different categories. This television legend died at the age of 89 from natural causes on June 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.