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August 23, 2014

'Wheel of Fortune' Wheel Designer, Ed Flesh, Dies Aged 79

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 20th 2011 7:20AM
'Wheel of Fortune' wheelThe man who created the iconic horizontally spinning wheel on 'Wheel of Fortune' has died.

According to 'The Hollywood Reporter,' art director Ed Flesh died in California on Friday of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 79 and is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers.

The prolific designer shaped the look of dozens of TV game shows including 'The $25,000 Pyramid,' 'Jeopardy!,' 'Name That Tune' and 'The Newlywed Game.'

Paying tribute to Flesh, Bob Eubanks, original host of 'The New Newlywed Game,' said "He truly was a master of his craft."

It was Flesh who came up with the idea to have the wheel on 'Wheel of Fortune' spin horizontally rather than vertically, thereby creating the whole look of the long-running game show.

Flesh completed his undergraduate work at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., then spent three years doing graduate work in scenic design at the Yale Drama School. He moved to New York, where he designed off-Broadway projects and landed at NBC as supervisor of scenic design.

He later moved to Burbank with NBC where he became the senior art director on 'Days of Our Lives' and worked on several game shows.

Flesh also designed the sets for David Letterman's first talk show for NBC daytime, for 'The Montel Williams Show' and for three special editions of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' -- for appearances by Barbra Streisand, Madonna and John Travolta.

Related:
Caitlin Burke on The Wheel of Fortune

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KissGuy

This AOL obit left out he is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers.

July 20 2011 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
parrottiko

The set decorations change with each weekly set of themed programs. The production is currently designed by Renee Hoss-Johnson, with previous set designers including Ed Flesh and Dick Stiles. And the roulette wheel was invented by the french in 1796.

July 20 2011 at 1:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
thankgodikauai

rip brother
RIP macho man savage

July 20 2011 at 1:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
geofisw

If you've ever watched the Jay Leno show, you'll notice he always stands between 2 pieces of furniture on the set. When the lights are bright they resemble wood towers, however when they lower the lights they look exactly like 2 women wearing panties and stockings lying on their backs with their legs sticking straight up in the air. It was an optical illusion that was created intentionally.

July 20 2011 at 1:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
geofisw

He didn't invent the wheel. its been used in carnivals for over 100 years and its a spin off of the roulette wheel. The only ones that watch that crap are senior citizens. Game shows are for the elderly in nursing homes.

July 20 2011 at 1:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
BobbyG

A true classic never goes out of style, and that's what that wheel is. RIP flesh!

July 20 2011 at 1:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Doug

Did he also invent the remote-controlled MAGNETIC BRAKE in the wheel that determines where it stops? Watch the wheel carefully, it's so obvious...I think so.

July 20 2011 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Ron

Why wasn't the wheel mounted higher to make it easier to spin? Too bad that he didn't take a class in ergonomics.

July 20 2011 at 1:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
joncolemad

elvis invented it on an old elvis movie he had the wheel of fortune by that name with girls pic. and phone numbers on it instead of money spots

July 20 2011 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

It's sad when someone creates something great, but no-one knows who did it. We only hear about these people when they die. I once saw a 60 Minutes piece about a composer who wrote many famous jingles, including ones for McDonalds, KFC, and numerous other popular brands, but no-one knew who he was.

As someone who has been a fan of "Jeopardy!" all my life who never knew who designed the famous game board, my heart goes out to the family of this man.

July 20 2011 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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