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Sunga, George (c. 1932-) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Sunga, George (c. 1932-)
Fuller Form: George A. Sunga

Historical Note:

George Sunga is a successful Filipino-American television producer known for his work on successful shows like Three's Company, Good Times, The Jeffersons, and All in the Family.  His work received numerous accolades, including several People’s Choice Awards, an Emmy nomination, and honors from the Academy for Television Arts and Sciences.

Sunga grew up in San Diego and attended San Diego State College in the early 1950s.  He was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity's Gamma-Lambda chapter, and in 1954-1955 he served as president of the Associated Students.  As part of his studies in television production at San Diego State, Sunga helped to compile the anthology series, Climax, which exposed him to the directing techniques of John Frankenheimer.  Sunga graduated in 1955 with an AB in Speech and Television Production.  Shortly thereafter, he began working in the mailroom of CBS Television City in Los Angeles.  Over the next decade, Sunga worked in various departments, eventually ascending to a position as the first official production supervisor for CBS West Coast.  In this position, he served as the liaison between CBS Television City and outside clients.  The network promoted him to associate producer of Carol Channing and Dick Van Dyke’s first television specials respectively.

In 1966, Sunga landed his first serial associate producer job for the controversial and satirical Smothers Brothers Comedy HourIn 1969, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the show.  That same year the show was abruptly cancelled.  During the 1970s, Sunga produced numerous successful series, specials, and pilot episodes, primarily for situational comedies (sitcoms) including Three’s Company, The Jeffersons, The Ropers, All in the Family, and Good Times.  In 1986, he joined Paramount and produced a television adaptation of the film Gung Ho, a show about the takeover of an American automobile manufacturing plant by a Japanese corporation.  The show was one of the first to feature a predominately Japanese-American cast.  After the show’s director, Dick Martin, became ill, Sunga took over as the show’s director, launching him into his first formal directorial role.

In 1989, Sunga became an officer of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  He also served on the Producers’ Guild of America board for twenty years and became chairman of the Guild’s Diversity Committee.  His commitment to diversity in television led to the creation of an award in his honor distributed yearly at the Media Access Awards.

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