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Richard L. Bare, 101; directed ‘Green Acres’

Eddie Albert (far left) and Eva Gabor acted with a varied cast of animals in “Green Acres.”Associated Press

NEW YORK — Richard L. Bare, a director whose career began during World War II and who became a Hollywood mainstay in the early days of television, died on March 28 at his home in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 101.

Mr. Bare directed virtually every episode of the long-running rural CBS sitcom “Green Acres,” as well as several episodes of “The Twilight Zone.” As he made clear in his comprehensive guide to his craft, “The Film Director,” he prided himself on an unpretentious approach.

“Some of the other directors who weren’t as lucky as I am were probably more bent on creating a great work of art, you know, and that to me never had any place on television,” he told the Archive of American Television in 2003.


That businesslike attitude helped Mr. Bare churn out episodes of numerous shows from the 1950s to 1970s. He was most prolific in the western genre, working on series like “The Virginian,” “Tombstone Territory,” and “Broken Arrow.”

Mr. Bare began directing “Green Acres,” which starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as a sophisticated Manhattan couple who move to a farm, in 1965. He said in 2003 that he took over for Ralph Levy, who was credited as director of the first two episodes, because Levy was using “strange camera angles” and trying to coax “magnificent performances” from Albert and Gabor instead of completing the show.

“Making ‘Green Acres’ art!” he scoffed. “Can you imagine ‘Green Acres’ being art?”

Art or not, the show became a popular addition to other country-themed CBS shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Petticoat Junction,” of which “Green Acres” was a spinoff. Mr. Bare directed 166 episodes before the show was canceled in 1971.

Richard Leland Bare was born in Turlock, Calif., to a family that owned vineyards. He grew up interested in photography and shot a short western as a student at Modesto High School.


He stopped directing in the mid-1970s. In recent years he had been developing a Broadway version of “Green Acres.”

Mr. Bare was married five times. His marriages to Virginia Carpenter and the actresses Phyllis Coates, Julie Van Zandt, and Jeanne Evans ended in divorce. He was married to the former Gloria Beutel until her death in 2012. He leaves his son.

While shooting “Green Acres,” Mr. Bare had to manage not just his two sometimes temperamental stars but also a prominent member of the supporting cast: a pig named Arnold.

“He was a little bit troublesome,” Bare said. “He’s what I called a ‘Method pig.’ ”

By his account, Mr. Bare rose to the challenge.

“For a long time I was the best pig director in Hollywood,” he once said.

“There was nobody that could direct a pig like I could.”