November 29, 2022

Hank Saroyan, Emmy-Winning TV Writer, Dies at 75

Hank Durand Saroyan, animation director and producer who won an Emmy for “Muppet Babies,” died Sept. 23 from complications of multiple myeloma cancer. He was 75.

He was born in Alameda, Calif. to Dorothy Saroyan and Henry Saroyan, brother of author William Saroyan. Hank Saroyan graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a veterinary degree and began his career as a stunt writer on the “Anniversary Game,” broadcast from KGO/ABC in San Francisco.

He moved on to writing and producing at Dick Clark Productions before going into animation, where he worked for Hanna Barbera and Marvel Productions. As story editor, he was part of the Emmy-winning “Muppet Babies” team. In addition to writing 17 episodes of the Jim Henson series, he composed music and served as executive in charge of production.


He also won a directing Emmy for “The Parsley Garden,” a short story by his uncle William Saroyan that he adapted for ABC. Narrated by James Earl Jones, the special starred Tom Bosley and Adrienne Barbeau and told the story of an Armenian American boy in 1930s Fresno who wants to build a bench for his mother’s garden.

“He was known for his creative talent and unabashed fun-loving approach to work and life. Hank had a passion for animals — he was an advocate, defender, and caregiver,” his son Jason wrote in his obituary, “He had endless stories to tell and was a master at embellishment and was always able to resonate with any type of audience. He will be remembered by many for years to come.”

Additional writing and story credits included the 1980s “Dungeons & Dragons” series, “Fievel’s Adventures in West,” “Trollkins” and “Rude Dog and the Dweebs.”

He is survived by his son Jason, two grandsons and two nieces.

Donations may be made to the ASPCA or the HealthWell Foundation.

October 29, 2022 2 Minutes 20 Views

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