Douglas Cramer, Producer of TV Hits and Art Aficionado, Dies at 89

Douglas S. Cramer, who produced some of probably the most profitable tv reveals of the 20th century, many — together with “The Love Boat” and “Dynasty” — in partnership with Aaron Spelling, and who used his substantial wealth to develop into a number one artwork collector, died on Friday at his dwelling on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. He was 89.

His husband, Hubert Bush, stated the trigger was kidney failure.

Mr. Cramer had an extended profession in tv, producing or serving to to develop reveals together with “Peyton Place” within the 1960s, “The Odd Couple” within the 1970s and “Hotel” within the 1980s. In the 1990s he produced a string of tv films based mostly on novels by Danielle Steel.

Today, tv producing credit are handed out for a spread of causes, and these given them typically have little direct involvement within the present. But in Mr. Cramer’s day the producer was typically extra like a movie director, shaping the solid and look of a sequence.

“I was very hands-on,” he stated in an oral historical past recorded in 2009 for the Television Academy Foundation. “There was nothing I wasn’t involved with. I worried about every performer, every extra, every piece of clothing.”

Mr. Cramer joined forces with Mr. Spelling, probably the most prolific American tv producer of the period, within the mid-1970s. “The Love Boat,” which they produced collectively, ran for 250 episodes starting in 1977 and had an enormous, eclectic record of visitor stars that mirrored Mr. Cramer’s connections and pursuits — Andy Warhol turned up in a 1985 episode, taking part in himself.

Mr. Cramer, left, in 1984 along with his longtime producing associate Aaron Spelling, middle, and their fellow producer E. Duke Vincent.Credit…Gene Trindl/MPTV Images

If that sequence was a cultural reference level, “Dynasty” was the sort of present that helps outline a decade. A first-rate-time cleaning soap opera a few wealthy oil household, the Carrington clan — Blake (John Forsythe), Krystle (Linda Evans), Alexis (Joan Collins) and others — the present ran from 1981 to 1989. It gave a campy gloss to the last decade whereas additionally sometimes managing to be groundbreaking: It had a outstanding homosexual character and a outstanding Black character, each nonetheless uncommon at the time.

“We walk a fine line, just this side of camp,” Mr. Cramer advised New York journal in 1985. “Careful calculations are made. We sense that while it might be wonderful for Krystle and Alexis to have a catfight in a koi pond, it would be inappropriate for Joan to smack Linda with a koi.”

That sequence and others, Mr. Spelling, who died in 2006, advised The New York Times in 1993, benefited from the distinctive Cramer contact.

“Douglas is a very creative man,” he stated. “He has immaculate taste in art direction and wardrobe.”

He additionally had immaculate style in artwork. He amassed a group that included each identified names and up-and-coming skills, and he made important presents to museums, together with the Museum of Modern Art, whose director, Glenn D. Lowry cited Mr. Cramer’s donation of “a superb group of paintings and sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly, among others.”

Steve Martin, a fellow artwork aficionado, recalled gatherings at a ranch Mr. Cramer owned in Santa Ynez, Calif.

“He would host a yearly ‘hoedown,’ with hay rides, buffets, inviting Hollywood’s and the art world’s glitterati,” Mr. Martin stated by electronic mail. “One year, the hoedown centered around the opening of his gigantic, multilevel private museum, stuffed with Lichtenstein, Baselitz (as I recall), Ruscha (as I recall), and dozens of other important artists. All the high-level art mingled with guys and gals dressed in gingham and cowboy hats.”

“The Love Boat” had an enormous, eclectic record of visitor stars that mirrored Mr. Cramer’s connections and pursuits. Andy Warhol turned up in a 1985 episode, taking part in himself.Credit…Walt Disney Television, through Getty Images

Douglas Schoolfield Cramer Jr. was born on Aug. 22, 1931, in Louisville, Ky. His father was a salesman, and his mom, Pauline (Compton) Cramer, was an inside designer who, after the household moved to Cincinnati when Doug was a boy, began writing a newspaper column, “Polly’s Pointers,” full of dwelling adorning and different suggestions. She and his grandmother, who owned an antiques store and would take him on shopping for journeys, “opened my eyes to looking at what was around me,” Mr. Cramer stated within the oral historical past, “which I think had a lot of impact on me as a producer.”

Those shopping for journeys with Grandma additionally spawned his curiosity in accumulating, one thing he started doing as a baby.

“I started to collect saltshakers for some bizarre reason,” he advised The Courier-Journal of Louisville in 2003. “From saltshakers it went to postcards. I had an enormous collection of postcards of art and posters.”

He additionally developed an early fascination with the theater and New York City. After six months at Northwestern University in Illinois, he left faculty at 18 and went to reside in New York, securing a job as a manufacturing assistant at Radio City Music Hall.

The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 led him to conclude that “I’d rather be at the University of Cincinnati than fighting in Korea,” as he put it within the oral historical past; he ultimately earned an English diploma there.

He returned to New York as a graduate scholar at Columbia University, acquiring a grasp’s diploma and additionally making a begin on a profession as a playwright; his drama “Call of Duty” was staged at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village in 1956. The play had a good run, however his predominant takeaway from the expertise, he stated, was the conclusion that “I really hadn’t lived enough to have anything to write about.”

Though the Korean War was over, he was ultimately drafted into the Army, spending six months working in communications. He managed a summer season playhouse in Cincinnati for a number of seasons, at the identical time educating at what’s now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

From left, Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda Evans in an episode of “Dynasty,” one of probably the most profitable reveals with which Mr. Cramer was concerned. “We stroll a high-quality line,” he stated of “Dynasty,” “simply this facet of camp.”Credit…ABC Photo Archives

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, sponsors have been significantly influential in tv, and Procter & Gamble, headquartered in Cincinnati, was one of the most important gamers. Hoping to work his manner into the tv enterprise, Mr. Cramer went to work there as a supervisor on two of its daytime reveals, “As the World Turns” and “The Guiding Light.”

After a number of years there he moved to New York, the place within the early 1960s he took a job at ABC. As director of programing planning there, he helped develop “Peyton Place” into a success sequence and additionally was concerned in bringing “Batman” to the small display screen in 1966.

At ABC and all through his profession, Mr. Cramer crossed paths with future Hollywood titans. One was Barry Diller, who would later lead Paramount and 20th Century Fox.

“I met Doug Cramer in the parking lot of the Bel Air Hotel as I was leaving my job interview with his boss at ABC,” Mr. Diller stated by electronic mail. “He gave me the ticket to retrieve his car, thinking I was the parking attendant, and I’ve greatly admired him ever since.”

From ABC Mr. Cramer moved to 20th Century Fox, and then to Paramount. There, as govt vp in cost of manufacturing, he had total authority over its many sequence, together with “Love American Style,” “The Brady Bunch” and “The Odd Couple.” He quickly fashioned his personal manufacturing firm, and in 1974 he produced “QB VII,” based mostly on the Leon Uris novel, a star-studded manufacturing typically recognized as community tv’s first mini-series. It received six Emmy Awards.

After his run with Mr. Spelling, Mr. Cramer fashioned a unique sort of partnership with Ms. Steel, starting in 1990 with a TV film model of her “Kaleidoscope.”

“The time that I spent working with Doug Cramer on 21 TV movies and mini-series based on my books,” Ms. Steel stated by electronic mail, “are among the happiest memories of my career, with fantastic results.”

Mr. Cramer’s marriage to the gossip columnist Joyce Haber led to divorce within the 1970s. A daughter, Courtney, died in 2004, and a son, Douglas III, died in 2015. Mr. Cramer started his relationship with Mr. Bush in 1991, and they married in 2006. A brother, Peyton, additionally survives him.

Mr. Bush stated that one of Mr. Cramer’s proudest accomplishments was that quirky casting on “The Love Boat.” In addition to working Warhol into an episode, he would generally engineer theme episodes, together with one which featured designers like Bob Mackie and Halston. It was an opportunity, Mr. Bush stated, to provide Middle America, which beloved the present, a glance at individuals they won’t in any other case see.

“Doug made that accessible to America,” Mr. Bush stated. “I think that was important.”