Ed Flesh, Designer of the Wheel on 'Wheel of Fortune,' Dies at 79

Wheel of Fortune Wheel 2011
Sony Televison

Wheel of Fortune Wheel 2011

Prolific art director also worked on "$25,000 Pyramid," "Name That Tune" and "Days of Our Lives."

Ed Flesh, an art director for dozens of TV game shows like Wheel of Fortune, The $25,000 Pyramid, Jeopardy! and Name That Tune, died July 15 at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Calif. He was 79.

Flesh died of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, publicist Fred Wostbrock said Tuesday.

For NBC’s Wheel of Fortune, it was Flesh who conceived of the spinning wheel as one that spins horizontally instead of vertically.

The Philadelphia native also designed the sets for David Letterman’s first talk show for NBC daytime, for The Montel Williams Show and for three special editions of The Oprah Winfrey Show — for appearances by Barbra Streisand, Madonna and John Travolta.

Other game shows on Flesh’s resume include Second Chance, Press Your Luck, Celebrity Sweepstakes, 50 Grand Slam, To Say the Least and The New Newlywed Game, hosted by Bob Eubanks.

“He truly was a master of his craft,” Eubanks said.

Flesh completed his undergraduate work at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., then spent three years doing graduate work in scenic design at the Yale Drama School. He moved to New York, where he designed off-Broadway projects and landed at NBC as supervisor of scenic design.

Flesh relocated at NBC in Burbank as the senior art director on the soap opera Days of Our Lives and worked on several game shows.

Flesh is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers.