Unit production manager and assistant director Abby Singer passed away last week at the Motion Picture and Television Country House at the age of 96.
Singer was a five-time Emmy nominee, known for his work on St. Elsewhere, Rhoda, The Doris Day Show and Hill Street Blues.
He was a member of the Directors Guild of America for over 60 years, joining the Screen Directors Guild in 1949, which merged with the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960 to form today’s DGA. He served three terms on the national board and was a member of the Western AD/UPM Council for more than three decades. He also served on the negotiations committee and was on the board of trustees for the Directors Guild Foundation for a decade and the DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans since 1980.
In 1985, the DGA presented Singer with the Frank Capra Achievement Award, which honors assistant directors and unit production managers in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the guild.
“From his first job as the assistant to the head of production at Columbia in 1949 to his final film as unit production manager for Family Plan in 1997, Abby Singer was renowned for working consistently, enthusiastically and most importantly – efficiently,” said Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay. “It was this efficiency that led to the coining of a phrase known throughout the entertainment industry and around the world as the ‘Abby Singer shot’ – the next to last shot of the day.”
“Abby gave freely of himself to his guild and his fellow guild members, serving for more than 30 years on the Western AD/UPM Council,” said Barclay. “He once told us in an interview for the DGA Quarterly, ‘Next to my wife and children, the film business is everything I ever wanted.’ He may have been the inspiration for the second to last shot, but today, Abby is first in our hearts.”
He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a step daughter and three granddaughters.