Emmy winner Sandy Dvore, the artist known for designing the iconic title sequences for classic TV programs like The Waltons, The Partridge Family and The Young and the Restless, passed away at age 86 on November 20, Deadline reports. Dvore had been diagnosed with end stage bone cancer in October, via his official Instagram account.
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Dvore first made a name for himself designing trade ads for Variety promoting the newsworthy activities of entertainment luminaries like Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz, A Star is Born), Dean Martin (Artists and Models, The Wrecking Crew) and Sammy Davis Jr. (Ocean’s Eleven, The Cannonball Run), according to Illustration. His first television job came in 1970 when an executive at Columbia Pictures Television asked him for a short title sequence for the pilot episode of The Partridge Family. The result was the animated procession of partridges and tinted photographs that opened every episode of the musical sitcom to follow, according to Art of the Title.
Over a decade later, Dvore submitted his idea for what would become the third opening title sequence for the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless. In a 2018 interview with the After Hours podcast from Lady Magazine, Dvore recalled that he met with a CBS executive, insisting that the look of daytime television was overdue for a change, and that he could design a logo for the long-running show. The Chicago artist reportedly came up with the handwritten “Y” over the “R” during that meeting. While Dvore’s graphite and ink illustrations have since been replaced by traditional photographs in the later iterations of the sequence, his distinctive typography remains a staple of the show’s branding.
Dvore allegedly had a hand in other famous logos from the twentieth century. The original logo for Dick Clark Productions with the “C” inside the letter D” is reportedly a Dvore original, according to an interview on the Aquarium Drunkard blog. The first American International Pictures logo was also allegedly a Dvore creation, as reported by Art of the Title. Additionally, Dvore is credited with designing the United Artists logo used throughout much of the 1980s, used first in Rocky III, Dvore explained on Instagram.
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Dvore’s one Emmy win was for the opening sequence to the made-for-TV comedy special Carol, Carl, Whoopi & Robin. In his After Hours interview, Dvore detailed his creative process for that particular assignment: “I got the idea to put them all in… kabuki makeup… Just photographing them on motion picture film in black and white, and I had them doing something shtick-y, whatever they wanted to do. And they all sat for two hours and individually got made up.”
Dvore was a restless experimenter in his lifetime. He discussed how important it was for him to push himself into unfamiliar artistic territory during his Aquarium Drunkard interview: “I don’t hang my shingle on one technique; I get a kick out of doing something totally different.”