Joseph Behar, ‘Days of Our Lives’ and ‘General Hospital’ Director, Dies at 94

by Joe Rutland

Joseph Behar, known for his work as a director of soap operas “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital,” is dead at 94 years old.

Behar, who won five Daytime Emmy Awards for his work, died June 26, according to an article from The Hollywood Reporter.

During a stretch of his career, Behar was pulling double duty on two completely different types of shows. He started working on “Days of Our Lives” in 1965 while directing the game show “Let’s Make A Deal” from 1963-77.

Joseph Behar Also Helped Famed Comedian Ernie Kovacs With TV Shows

Yet Behar also happened to collaborate with one of television’s brightest minds in comedian Ernie Kovacs. Behar was behind the camera as Kovacs pulled numerous sight gags and comic bits that, in hindsight, looked ahead of their time.

But Joseph Behar is best known for his work in the soap opera world. As we mentioned, he worked on two of television’s longest-running soaps. Ironically, Behar worked on the pilot of “General Hospital” back in 1963. He had retired when the show called him back to be behind the camera. Joseph Behar ended up staying for a decade on the ABC soap.

His retirement in 2005 was one that he stood by and didn’t return behind the camera.

Joseph Behar was born in Harlem on Sept. 30, 1926, and was raised in Long Island, N.Y.

Award-Winning Director Knew Getting First Reaction Was Important

After having success with NBC, Behar relocated to Los Angeles in 1959 where he reteamed with Kovacs. They initially worked together back east when Kovacs was a local staff announcer at a Philadelphia TV station.

When interviewed in 2003 by the TV Academy Foundation, Behar talked about the important point of getting contestants’ reactions on “Let’s Make A Deal.”

“Once a reaction was gone and you didn’t catch it, there was no way of editing it in or redoing it,” Behar said. “But I was a wiz at getting it the first time.”

“Let’s Make A Deal” starred Monty Hall and was an afternoon TV staple on ABC during those years. Working on so many different shows showed the unique sides that Behar had within his talents.

He was married for 53 years to his wife, Carolyn. Joseph Behar is also survived by his sons Jeffrey, Steven, and Greg, and their partners Lori, Tim, and Jennifer. He also is survived by four grandchildren, Alex, Mallory, Niko and Lydia; and one great-granddaughter, Brooklyn.

Behar’s name isn’t one that viewers saw in front of the camera at all. Yet his work helped steer the course for two major TV shows for a long, long time. From soap operas to game shows to working with Kovacs, Joseph Behar put his directing skills to good use. So good in fact that he won awards for his work.