Former 'Wide World of Sports' director dead at 76

Updated: March 8, 2007, 10:47 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Andy Sidaris, the television sports pioneer who finished his career surrounded by scantily clad B-movie beauties, has died. He was 76.

Sidaris died Wednesday of throat cancer, according to his wife, Arlene.

Known for his ebullient personality and creative approach to televised sports, Sidaris directed the first "Wide World of Sports" for ABC, a job he continued for the next 25 years.

Sidaris pioneered what he called the "honey shot," close-ups of cheerleaders and pretty girls in the stands at sporting events. He won an Emmy Award in 1969 for directing the Summer Olympics.

"I was the best television director that ever lived," Sidaris told the online DVD magazine DigitallyObsessed.com in 2003. "You'll never hear me say that about film, but I was. I created everything that ABC Sports did, the creative stuff."

His lighthearted personality "brought out the best in everybody who surrounded him," ABC announcer Keith Jackson said. "Andy was one of a kind."

Sidaris branched out to dramatic television in the 1970s, directing episodes of "Kojak" and "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries." Then he expanded into film, specializing in action flicks featuring gun-toting Playboy Playmates. Titles include "Bullets, Bombs and Babes," "Fit to Kill" and "Savage Beach."

With his wife as his production partner, he made 12 films.

A native of Chicago, Sidaris was a longtime resident of Beverly Hills. Along with his wife, Sidaris is survived by son Drew and daughters Alexa Garner and Stacey Avela.

Services were scheduled for Sunday in Los Angeles.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press