Michael Allen Conley, Who Worked on 'Hour of Power,' 'Blossom' and 'Golden Girls,' Dies at 73

Michael Conley

The early adopter of computer editing tools also worked on 'Matlock' and 'Empty Nest.'

Michael Allen Conley, a director, producer and editor who worked on the KTLA News, the Rev. Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power and a string of hit TV shows including Blossom and The Golden Girls, has died. He was 73.

Conley, who was known among colleagues for his early adoption of computers as editing tools, died April 12 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications of a kidney transplant, said friend Don Azars.

Born in 1945 in Washington, D.C., he was a graduate of the Harvard School for Boys in Los Angeles and attended the University of Southern California, where he worked for radio station KUSC.

In the early 1960s, Conley worked on the KTLA News, quickly moving from production assistant to assistant director to director. For a time, he even worked for KTLA and KTTV at the same time. Conley left KTLA in the ‘70s to produce and direct Schuller’s Hour of Power program, said longtime colleague Bob Tarlau. “He was not particularly religious, but he had a tremendous rapport with Schuller,” Tarlau said. "He was just one of those super nice guys."

Conley then produced and directed the ahead-of-its-time faux reality series Crisis Counselor on the Cable Health Network, which eventually became Lifetime. After that, he began a long postproduction career editing with LaserPacific. Among the shows Conley worked on: Blossom, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Matlock and Freddy’s Nightmares.

He also did editing work for Walt Disney Imagineering for park attractions Soaring Over California and Body Wars.

Azars said Conley’s early work in computer editing led him to design and code utilities that enabled off-line editing of the CMX and Sony formats.

In retirement, he joined a regular social gathering of former colleagues that came to be known as the “The News Geezers,” Tarlau said.

Conley is survived by his companion of 45 years, Gregory Gutierrez. A memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.