Marty Krofft, Osmonds, ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’ producer, dies at 86

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NEW YORK – Marty Croft, a TV producer known for prime-time hits including “HR Pufnstuf” and “Donnie & Marie” in the 1970s, has died in Los Angeles, his publicist said. Croft was 86.


What you need to know

  • Marty Croft, the TV producer best known for such hit fantasy children’s shows as “HR Pufnstuf” and the 1970s hit “Donnie & Marie,” has died in Los Angeles at age 86.
  • According to publicist Harlan Ball, he died of kidney disease on Saturday
  • Croft and his brother Sid were puppeteers who broke into television and shot to stardom in Hollywood.
  • “You all meant the world to him,” Sid Croft told fans on Instagram of his heartbreak over his younger brother’s death.

He died Saturday of kidney failure, publicist Harlan Ball said.

Croft and his brother Sid were puppeteers who broke into television and shot to stardom in Hollywood. Along the way, they brought a trio of sensations to kids’ TV and brought single siblings Donnie and Marie Osmond and Barbara Mandrell and her sisters to primetime.

The Osmonds’ clean-cut variety show, which featured television’s youngest hosts at the time, became an enduring piece of ’70s cultural memory, relaunching as a daytime talk show in the 1990s and Broadway Christmas Show In the year In 2010, the Crofts followed up with “Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters,” which focused on the country music star. It was from 1980-82.

Like the Osmons, “HR Pufnstuf” has proven pop culture staying power. Despite a total of 17 episodes, Surrel’s show, which featured The Island, The Witch, The Talking Flute, The Shipwrecked Boy, and the Red-Headed, Cowboy-Boot-Wearing Dragon, ranked 27th on TV Guide’s 2007 list of all-time cult favorites. .

In 1969, 45 years after the show’s debut, the title character starred in another Croft Brothers hit, “Mutt & Stuff,” a show that ran for several seasons on Nickelodeon.

Marty Croft “At this point in our lives we have to turn our backs on another success.” He told The Associated Press. Before taping the show in 2015.

Even then, he was still grappling with another of the enduring qualities of “HR Pufnstuf” – assuming that this created some determination to transform the consciousness of the 60s. Croft dismissed the idea: “If we did the medicine that everyone thought we would be dead today,” he said, “you can’t work stoned.”

In the year Born in Montreal on April 9, 1937, Croft entered entertainment as a puppeteer. He and his brother Sid In 1960, they produced a cabaret-inspired puppet show called “Les Poupées de Paris”, and its traveling success led to the creation of puppet shows for amusement parks. The Crofts eventually opened their own short-lived Sid & Marty Croft World in Atlanta in the 1970s.

In the year He made his television debut in 1970 with “HR Pufnstuf”, which created the movie “Pufnstuf”. Many more shows followed for large audiences, including “Land of the Lost”; “Electra the Woman and Dinah the Girl”; “Pryor’s Place” with comedian Richard Pryor; and “DC Follies,” in which puppets provide humorous commentary on politics and the news.

The couple was honored with a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Emmy. Two years later, they found their walking star.

“You all meant the world to him,” Sid Croft told fans on Instagram of his heartbreak over his younger brother’s death.

While other producers may have contented themselves with their early success, Marty Croft’s He told the AP in 2015 that he had no intention of leaving the show.

“What am I going to do – retire and watch daytime TV and die in a month?” he asked.



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