Harry Falk, TV Director and First Husband of Patty Duke, Dies at 83

Harry Falk and wife Patty Duke in the 1960s.

He met the actress on her 1960s sitcom and went on to helm such shows as 'Get Smart,' 'The Partridge Family' and 'The Colbys.'

Harry Falk, an Emmy-nominated director who helmed dozens of television shows and miniseries and was the first husband of the late actress Patty Duke, has died. He was 83.

Falk died April 29 in Santa Monica, his family recently announced.

Falk, then a 32-year-old assistant director on The Patty Duke Show, married the 18-year-old star of the popular ABC sitcom in 1965. But with Duke struggling with alcoholism and her then-undiagnosed bipolar disorder, they split after two years and divorced soon afterward.

A native of Brooklyn and the son of a former New York City cop-turned-gaffer, Falk began his show business career as a prop master, then served as an assistant director on TV commercials, on such series as The Defenders and on the Sidney Lumet film Fail-Safe (1964).


His first solo directing opportunity came in 1966 on Duke's show, and he later worked on such series as The Doris Day Show; The Courtship of Eddie's Father; Get Smart; The Flying Nun; The Partridge Family; Love, American Style; The Rookies; Magnum, P.I.; Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; McMillan & Wife; The Rockford Files; and The Colbys.

Falk received his Emmy nom (as well as one from the DGA) for his work on a 1974 episode of The Streets of San Francisco. He also received an NAACP award for his 1981 telefilm The Sophisticated Gents and directed three episodes of the 1978-79, 12-part miniseries Centennial.

Survivors include Candace, his wife of 27 years; daughter Sena; nephews Kerac, Rick and Frank; and niece Linda.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on July 16 at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles.