Russell Morash, who created ‘This Old House,’ collaborated with Julia Child, dead at 88

Russell Morash

Russell Morash, who created the television series “This Old House” and was a frequent collaborator with Julia Child, died June 20. He was 88.

Morash was originally hired as a camera operator for Boston public television station WGBH in 1958 before becoming a producer and director, Deadline reported.

He created “This Old House” in 1979 and wrote 621 episodes of the television series beginning in 1979, according to IMDb.com. Morash also directed 13 segments of the show. After one season on WGBH, the show went nationally on PBS.

He has been called the father of “how-to” and “know-how” television.

“Who could have imagined that the home improvement television idea would develop into an entire industry,” Morash said on the “This Old House” website. “But given the fact that a person’s home is likely his or her most valuable asset, it may explain why so many viewers still depend on This Old House.”

In 1963, Morash began working with Child in 1963, directing “The French Chef,” Deadline reported. He worked with the celebrity chef for more than three decades.

“As we celebrate the life of Russ Morash, we reflect on the legacy he leaves at GBH, public media and beyond,” Susan Goldberg, president and CEO of GBH, said in a statement. “His commitment to innovation and to the audience defines our work to this day.”

In the recent television drama series “Julia,” Morash was portrayed by actor Fran Kranz, according to IMDb.com.

Morash also had a credit on the gardening show, “The Victory Garden.”

He received the George Robert White Medal for 2005 by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Morash was also inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2018.

He was a 14-time Emmy Award winner and won 11 times for “Outstanding Director of a Service Show.” In 2014, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Morash a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.

WGBH paid tribute to Morash, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, with a billboard on Monday.

“He is memorialized on today’s #GBHMural overlooking the Massachusetts Pike in Boston,” GBH wrote on X. “Rest easy, RM.”

In an emailed statement, Adam Sharp, president and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, paid tribute to Morash.

“Every one of us at NATAS is heartbroken to hear of Russ’ passing,” Sharp said. “A true icon in every meaning of the word, to whom we owe gratitude for not just the great programs he spearheaded but for the great genres of TV they piloted.”

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