Featured speaker and honorary degree recipient at the 2015 University of New Haven Commencement Ceremony
Doctor of Humane Letters
Bill Persky is a five-time Emmy Award-winning writer, director and producer. His extensive television and film credits include The Dick Van Dyke Show, Kate & Allie and creating That Girl, the groundbreaking television series that starred Marlo Thomas.
After starting his career at WNEW radio in New York City in the mid-1950s, he moved to California and wrote for a variety of shows, including The Steve Allen Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Julie Andrews Show, McHale’s Navy and The Joey Bishop Show.
He moved back to New York in 1980 to produce and direct 100 episodes of the series Kate & Allie, winning an Emmy for directing. Throughout his career, he has written and directed over 500 television shows and movies, working with such notable individuals as Sid Caesar, Bill Cosby, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, Goldie Hawn and Orson Welles.
His memoir, My Life is a Situation Comedy, was published in 2013.
In 2013, Persky served as a guest lecturer in “Devising for the Stage,” a course taught at the University of New Haven by playwright Jonathan Yukich. He is a guest lecturer at New York University Film School and Yale University, and he taught comedy writing at The New York Film Academy. He is a contributing writer for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.
Persky earned a bachelor’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He lives with his wife, Joanna, in New York City.