Jay Sandrich Directed Classic Sitcoms
Starting out as an assistant director on "I love Lucy" in the late 50s probably wasn’t a bad introduction to Jay Sandrich’s television career behind the camera.
"I wrote a letter to Lucy’s company (Desilu) and was invited for an interview," recalled Sandrich from Los Angeles.
He was immediately offered the job despite possessing only a film degree from UCLA and a couple of years’ experience working on army documentaries.
"It was my first real job in the business," he said. "The only reason I got it was because the man who hired me had been my father’s assistant, so I got that job thanks to my father."
But by then, there was no way for Jay to thank his dad. Sandrich senior had died a decade earlier when his son was just 13.
Mark Sandrich had been a respected film director in the 1930s and 40s who worked on five Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ films as well as the still favorite seasonal musical "Holiday Inn."
As the rookie second assistant director on "Lucy," young Jay’s duties included a lot of paperwork and making sure actors were on time for rehearsals. "Then I got the job of first assistant director the next season. I knew very little, but the previous assistant director, Jack Aldworth – now the associate producer – taught me so much."
Also filming at Desilu Studios was "Make Room for Daddy." Director/producer Sheldon Leonard invited Sandrich to work on the series as assistant director for over 160 episodes.