Sandy Dvore: The Guy Who Did “New”

In the Bell Family Gallery
October 8, 2010, to February 17, 2011


C’mon get happy and meet Sandy Dvore, best known to television viewers, perhaps, for his groovy, pop-art-inflected speed-walking partridges, who appear in the opening-title sequence of ABC’s 1970s hit The Partridge Family.

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But Dvore, whose work we are featuring in a gallery exhibit at the Paley Center in Los Angeles, is an Emmy-winning title artist and illustrator with a portfolio boasting far more than non-migratory pheasants; in a career spanning four decades, from the sixties to the nineties, he created a plethora of arresting visual images for television, film, and print, representing some of the era’s most iconic performers and popular productions. Dvore’s subjects have ranged from Sinatra to Buffalo Springfield, his TV and film work from Lawrence of Arabia to The Young and the Restless. His Emmy for Outstanding Graphic and Title Design was awarded in 1987 for his work on the comedy special Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin, starring Carol Burnett, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams. “I always considered my task very easy,” Dvore says, “but look who I had to work with.” All that, and modest too.

There was no grand plan: Dvore started out as a Chicago ad man, but gave that up to pursue acting in Hollywood. When that didn’t pan out he secured a job painting backdrops for a small theater company, freelancing as a graphic artist on the side. Fatefully, his art was discovered by talent agent Freddie Fields, leading to work with Hollywood stars like Sean Connery, Steve McQueen, Warren Beatty, Judy Garland, Faye Dunaway, and Sammy Davis, Jr. He designed album covers for recording artists; created corporate logos for Lorimar, International Creative Management, and United Artists, among others; and crafted promotional ads for famed L.A. nightspots like the Cocoanut Grove and the Moulin Rouge. Dvore has been credited with creating a new art form, the poster-trade campaign: full-page ads crafted especially for the back page of the industry trades, like Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, often touting individual stars rather than studios or films.

On the TV front, Dvore contributed memorable main titles and/or other graphics for such shows as Knots Landing, The Waltons, North and South, The Hollywood Palace, and Police Story. No big deal, Dvore says: “They needed me... to keep people from getting up and switching the channel.” We think it was a lot more than that. Take a look around and decide for yourself.

David Bushman
Curator, The Paley Center for Media