Obituary: Richard Cox, 87
Richard “Dick” Cox died July 10, 2017. Born Aug. 21, 1929, he was a pioneer in the broadcasting industry. While in high school, his first job was as an usher at CBS Radio at age 16. After graduation in 1947, and while attending Fordham University, Dick moved from CBS to NBC where he worked as a Page. He worked on such notable shows as Milton Berle, Fred Allen, Perry Como and Howdy Doody.
In 1951 he moved on to Young & Rubicam advertising agency’s Radio & TV Department, and was involved in radio programs such as Gangbusters, Molle Mystery Theatre and the television programs The Fred Waring Show and The Aldrich Family.
After spending time in the U.S. Army’s Psychological Warfare Reserve stationed in Europe, he returned to Young & Rubicam’s television programming division, rising to Vice President in charge of Radio and Television Programming. Dick worked on several major advertising accounts including General Foods and Bristol-Myers. He was instrumental in the ABC late-night program The Joey Bishop Show, and was the original sponsor of several classic TV programs including Maverick, Twilight Zone, Hitchcock, Candid Camera, Father Knows Best, Our Miss Brooks, Peter Gunn, My Three Sons and Batman, among others.
In the mid 1960’s Dick was recruited to Doyle Dane Bernbach to set up their television department, where he co-produced the first television Tony Awards, was the original sponsor for Hogan’s Heroes and was Executive Producer of the Monsanto Night Shows specials with Barbra Streisand, Johnny Carson, Dick Van Dyke, Carol Channing, Sophia Loren, Princess Grace, Pearl Baily, Zero Mostel and Perry Como.
Dick later returned to Young & Rubicam in the early 1970’s, heading up Y&R Ventures and then setting up his own subsidiary on the production side, DCA-TV. Under the DCA-TV umbrella, Dick executive produced the Radio Playhouse Series featuring four 15-minute old-time radio programs airing every weekday, as well as produced television’s first syndicated daytime soap opera, High Hopes.
In 1981 Bill Paley tapped Dick to head up the new CBS Cable effort. The network was set up in 29 weeks, created the award-winning talk show series Signature. He received two Cable Ace awards while at CBS Cable. It was the early days of cable television and it was a tough go. As a result of many factors, including a major recession, Dick closed the doors of CBS Cable in 1983 and committed all his efforts back to DCA Television.
Dick was the co-producer of the off-Broadway show Orlando Furioso, for which he earned an Obie Award special citation for the show’s “Daring Theatrical Ingeniousness and It’s Sheer Joy” in 1971. He also served as a member of President Nixon’s Commission on Drug Abuse 1969-70.
While Dick’s four-decade career spanned radio, television and cable, his impact on the television industry is legendary and is still felt today.
Dick is predeceased by his wife Ray Bradley (1997), his brother James Cox (2016) and his great-granddaughter Halle Anne Root (2012). He is survived by his life partner Jane Jordan; his children Bradley Cox, Cynthia Rohrs, John Cox and Claudia Nelson; as well as eight grandchildren — Marilee Root, Brittany Figueroa, John Turner IV, Noelle Nelson, Sophia Nelson, Gabriel Nelson, Sam Nelson and Nina Nelson; and two great-grandchildren — Tyler Root and Annabelle Figueroa.
Memorial services will take place on Friday, July 14, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. meeting directly at St. Margaret Mary Church, 50 Donovan Lane, Shelton, Conn. There will be no prior calling hours and interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Halle’s Hope, P.O. Box 397, New Canaan, CT 06840.