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Harry Kooperstein, a director, producer and trumpet player who received 17 local Emmy Awards, eight for his work on the annual Live From the Hollywood Bowl telecasts, had died. He was 79.
A resident of Palm Desert, Kooperstein died March 30, his family announced.
Kooperstein also directed newscasts for KCOP-TV and musical specials on Miss Saigon and Kiss of the Spider Woman from the Ahmanson Theatre and called the shots for another popular perennial in town, the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
Born on April 11, 1941, in Columbus, Ohio, Kooperstein attended Bexley High School and Ohio State University, where he majored in music and played trumpet in the school’s famed marching band.
He got his start in television as a stage manager at a Columbus station and directed newscasts for WLWI-TV in Indianapolis when David Letterman was his weatherman. He came to Los Angeles in 1976 to direct newscasts for KCOP-TV.
His job at the station led to him working with the L.A. Philharmonic on the Hollywood Bowl telecasts. He helmed the first 13, starting in 1987.
“I think for a director doing a show like this, if he didn’t have a musical background it would be very difficult,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “I mean, he could get some shots and some nice lighting, but as far as directing music, I think it takes a special individual who knows music.”
He was an original member of the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band led by actor-trombonist Conrad Janis.
Kooperstein also directed a televised tribute to Natalie Wood, hosted by Roddy McDowall and Hope Lange soon after the actress’ 1981 death, as well as a documentary filmed on location at the Oregon State Penitentiary in which rape victims confronted their assailants.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, whom he married in 1982; his sister, Lainie; and his stepson, Chuck. Donations in his name can made be made to City of Hope.
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