Veteran soap opera producer Paul Rauch dead at 78
Daytime mourns icon via Twitter and Facebook
Legendary producer Paul Rauch passed away on Monday, Dec. 10, at the age of 78, according to multiple reports. The behind-the-scenes power player helped shape the soap opera genre over the course of career that spanned over 50 years and is being remembered by fans and colleagues across the Internet.
Bing: More about Paul Rauch
Rauch broke into the business with his heart set on being an actor but went on to become a daytime icon of another kind instead. The producer was there in the 1960s when "Guiding Light" went from 15 to 30 minutes and then broke ground again in 1972 by taking "Another World" to an hour. He kept "AW" at the top of the game until 1984, while also creating his own show, "Texas," in 1980, and then continued to shape daytime with modernized production and Wild-West storytelling as head honcho at "One Life to Live," "Santa Barbara," "Guiding Light" and "Young and the Restless." He even did stints as a CBS exec, serving as VP of Daytime Programs and Programs-East Coast in the early 1970s, and more recently took his knowledge abroad to show to Russia and Poland how serial drama is done.
Rauch landed eight Daytime Emmy nominations over the course of his career, taking home two wins: one in 1976 for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series "Another World" and another for 2001 Outstanding Children's Special "Run With The Fields."
MSN TV last spoke with Rauch during his 50th year in daytime, which found him at the helm of "The Young and the Restless." Back in 2010, he had his heart set on one more Best Show win, but it wasn’t to be. Often touted as an actors' producers and an old school player, the tough guy also had a tendency to ire fans and colleagues alike - as soap opera power players tend to do!
"I just expect the best from people," he said of his methods. "I don't accept any less, because we have to put the product on the air and I want it to be the best. I can't live with a compromised performance or a compromised job by a cameraman. It's got to be right."
During our chat, Rauch looked back at the groundbreaking and controversial moves of his career, considered the state of daytime and talked about juggling fan expectations.
"I've been paying attention to what fans have said for a long time, from fan mail and focus groups, but there are always naysayers in daytime and they're the most vivid, loudest people I've ever heard," Rauch said. "They can also be the nastiest. You have to take what they say and run it through a filter. Ultimately, a head writer and a producer need to evolve story they think is going to work for the audience based on the audience's dedication to the characters. You have to use your instincts. It can't be a reaction."
Rauch is survived by his wife, Israela Margalit; two children; two stepchildren; three granddaughters and a TV genre that has recently seen a raging surge.
Daytime remembers a legend
As has become the norm when icons pass, soapsters have taken to Facebook and Twitter to share their condolences. News of Rauch's passing is still spreading, but here's a look at what his colleagues have had to say, thus far:
Maria Arena Bell (former "The Young and the Restless" showrunner, pictured on left) via Facebook: I considered Paul a great friend and he and Israela were at my wedding. Paul was from the old school of soaps and he really knew how to run a show and understood the value of the writer in the process. I loved working with him and I loved him dearly as a person and am heartsick to hear he has passed. I wish the best to Israela and their grown children and will really miss him.
Josh Griffith ("Y&R" headwriter) via Facebook: The Soap World mourns the loss of one of our giants, Paul Rauch. R.I.P., my friend. Go produce the hell out of Heaven now.
Frank Valentini ("General Hospital" Executive Producer): My good friend and mentor, Paul Rauch, passed away today...very sad news. Paul Rauch dedicated his life to soap operas and made a mark like no other. He will be missed, but his legendary contribution will live on.
Ron Carlivati ("GH" Headwriter): I didn't know Paul Rauch, I only met him once, but he produced One Life to Live throughout the 1980s and it was the best! RIP Mr. Rauch.
Michael Muhney (Michael, "Y&R:): RIP Paul Rauch. You were my boss, my collaborator, my fan, my advisor, and my friend.
Daniel Goddard (Cane, "Y&R): Today we lost Paul Rauch... And the world is emptier for it. I will miss you my friend. Thank u for everything u did for me. The things that u taught me will stay with me for life. Rest in Peace.
Tristan Rogers (Scorpio, "GH"): I am sad to learn the passing of Paul Rausch. This man was singly responsible for me lasting on Y&R. He was a big presence in daytime. You think back on the people who you "owe" something too and Paul was one of those people. He revered the history of the genre.
Crystal Chappell (Carly, "Days of Our Lives"; "Venice: The Series" co-creator): Paul Rauch was a dear man to me...he will be missed. Love and prayers to his family.
Paul Anthony Stewart (ex-Danny, "Guiding Light"): Very sad to hear about the passing of Guiding Light Executive Producer Paul Rauch. A great man, a brilliant producer, and a friend. He was the mastermind and motivating force behind the best of Danny & Michelle, and gave me the wonderful opportunity to portray Danny Santos, one of the most exciting characters I've ever created. Rest in peace, Paul.