Jay Curtis, longtime on-air brand manager for CBS Television, died Thursday after a battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He was 67. His son, J.T. Curtis, announced his father’s death on Facebook.
Known as The Creative Lifeguard for his talent at coaxing creative out of people, Curtis also produced promos for CBS, NBC and Fox, and directed such talent as David Letterman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Cheech Marin among others.
Curtis also co-created with Bruce Mueller, and hosted Disasterpiece Theater. The comedy television program, which lampooned low-budget, campy science fiction and horror films, aired in the early 1980s on XETV, a Grupo Televisa-owned station in Tijuana, Mexico, which broadcasts across the border in San Diego, CA. Curtis hosted the show as Sal U. Lloyd, a play on the word celluloid. Mueller played “The Other Guy” and would often dress up as The Mummy. The duo co-wrote and produced the show.
In 2004, Curtis won a WGA Award for his work at CBS, where he helped the network rise to No. 1 in viewership during his tenure. Last June he was honored at PromaxBDA: The Conference in Los Angeles just before the organization’s annual State of Our Art session, which Curtis previously had produced many times.
After he was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, Curtis penned two books of poetry which chronicled his life with the disease, ALS: In and Out of Dreaming and Flaws in the Road.
In his Facebook announcement, J.T. Curtis asked his friends, in lieu of flowers or cards, to please buy a copy of his books, which are available on Amazon, and keep his memory alive.