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Producer, Director of Nature TV Shows Was 94

Producer, Director of Nature TV Shows Was 94

Producer, Director of Nature TV Shows Was 94

Fred R. Krug, a producer, director and cinematographer who worked on such nature-focused TV programs as Animal World, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and The Magical World of Disney, has died. He was 94.

Krug died June 4 of natural causes at his home in Solvang, California, his daughter, Vivian Krug-Cotton, told The Hollywood Reporter.

A pioneer in wildlife TV documentaries and travel shows, the Swiss-born Krug dined with Picasso, worked with The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and danced with the Nicholas brothers.

He also collaborated with the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee, Louis Armstrong, Cornel Wilde, Jayne Mansfield, Dana Andrews, Jean Simmons, Agnes Moorehead, Art Linkletter and Tippi Hedren.

Krug’s career took him to the jungles of Peru, Ecuador and Brazil; to India, Zululand, South Africa and the Serengeti in Kenya; to the high country of New Zealand; and to the mountains of Italy.

Friedrich Roy Krug was born on Aug. 30, 1929, in Bern, Switzerland. He purchased his first movie camera at age 10 on layaway in a photography shop and started making short films where he lived in Basel, Switzerland.

He became a photographer and writer for a local newspaper at 16, covered the entertainment and art scene in Europe and translated and wrote a German version of the Bram Stoker novel Dracula.

Krug came to Los Angeles and arranged a meeting with Peter Ballbusch, a fellow Swiss native who was working at MGM as a montage director. Ballbusch helped Krug get work in Hollywood.

After a stint in the U.S. Army, for whom he served in intelligence, ran a base radio station and booked celebrity entertainment, Krug returned to L.A. to resume his career in entertainment.

He served as the stage manager for Jack LaLanne’s fabled fitness program and was a cinematographer and film-videotape director at KCOP-TV in L.A.

Krug’s passion of animals, primarily large cats, led him to Bill Burrud Productions, where he worked on Animal World and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, early primetime shows about wildlife.

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For The Magical World of Disney in the 1970s, he operated a camera and directed the installments “The Proud Bird From Shanghai,” “The Secret of Old Glory Mine” and “The Golden Dog.”

He contributed to such other TV projects as The American West, The World of Reptiles, The Great Apes, Adventures of the Wilderness Family and Mountain Family Robinson. And he was a camera operator on NBC’s CHiPs from 1978-80.

Krug was endorsed for membership into the DGA by Roy Disney and in 1987 served as a planner and picket captain of the guild’s only walkout, known as the “Five Minute Strike” for its brevity. He also was a member of the Producers Guild.

An avid private pilot, Krug was active in Rotary Clubs in Hollywood and, after his retirement, Santa Ynez.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 68 years, Rosemary, and his son-in-law, Samuel.

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