Here’s … Rufus

Biography of Rufus Pederson
upon his nomination to the Silver Circle
of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
San Francisco/Northern California Chapter

Rufus Pederson is an outstanding television director who has dedicated his life to his craft and to the advancement of directors in the television industry. Besides that, he is the nicest human being you will ever meet.

He has shown his versatility over the years by directing every conceivable kind of television show, including news, variety, talk, and specials. In many of these shows he also functioned as a producer. But directing is his first love and to promote his enamoured, he has spent years working for the Directors Guild of America. He was a founding member of the San Francisco Coordinating Committee of DGA and has been a longstanding member of that body’s governing board as well as serving as a representative to the annual DGA National Conference. He has spent endless hours representing the right of every director to have decent work for decent pay.

Rufus began his love affair with television in the army at the first Armed Forces television station — a closed-circuit hook-up with the call letters “CSLO” at Camp San Luis Obispo, California, an Army Corps training camp. That was in 1952. He was a director and occasionally a performer. Needless to say, he gave up on the latter.

After getting out of the service, he went to work as a floor manager then director at KCOP-TV Los Angeles starting in 1955. He worked on the Oscar Levant show, among others.

Then he got a better offer from Channel 2, KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon, to become their production manager as well as director. While there he directed a two-hour live variety show hosted by Steve Davis, later a KGO-TV reporter. Supposedly the show included live animal acts, juggling, mariachis, and many forms of spontaneous mayhem which Rufus ring-mastered artfully.

After a brief stint at Channel 44 in San Francisco attempting an all-live station which didn’t last very long, he finally arrived at KGO-TV, Channel 7. And the rest they say is history. At KGO he was a preeminent director able to direct every form of television. He spent many years directing the “AM-San Francisco” live morning show and its successor, “Good Morning Bay Area.” In addition, he has directed weekly magazine shows including “Front Row Video”, “900 Front Street” and the nationally syndicated “Dr Dean Edell’s Medical Journal,” which also won an “Iris” award for “Best New Magazine Show.” He has directed every form of news and news special imaginable. But some of his best work shows up in variety shows and specials, such as “Good Time Cafe,” (a comedy special syndicated to the Arts & Entertainment Network), “The Roast of Champions,” “The Bay Area Night of International Stars,” and “The 40th Anniversary Special.”

Rufus merits consideration for the “Silver Circle Award” because he has dedicated his life to the advancement of television, particularly television in the Bay Area. And he has done it all with grace, kindness and a wonderful joy.

3 Responses to Here’s … Rufus

  1. admin says:

    In Memory: Rufus J. Pederson, Jr.
    Published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, Feburary 23, 2008
    Read Obituary

  2. ali says:

    Memorial Placard from the Celebration of Our Dear Friend’s Life:

    In Memory ~ Rufus J Pederson, Jr

    Rufus J Pederson Jr, a much-respected and longtime member of the San Francisco Bay Area television and film community, passed away quietly at his home on the morning of Friday, February 1, 2008. Rufus had been in treatment for esophageal cancer for the past year. He was 77 years old.

    Remembered by many as a mischievous teller of humorous stories, Rufus was a very accomplished television director. Having enjoyed a career of more than 50 years, Rufus directed various kinds of program segments, including news, sports, variety, and documentary programs. A few of the many titles on his credit list are Good Morning America, Dr. Edell’s Medical Journal, AM San Francisco, Channel Seven News, and Forty Magic Years, a two-hour live celebration of 40 years of broadcasting from KGO-TV.

    Rufus was one of the founding members of the San Francisco Coordinating Committee, a local executive body of the Directors Guild of America formed in 1978 to coordinate Guild activities in the Bay Area.

    For many years, Rufus served as an SFCC officer, and was a guiding force through many of its activities. In 2001, Rufus received a plaque in recognition of “his dedicated commitment, outstanding service, and years of tireless contribution” to the Guild and its membership.

    In 2007, Rufus received the Larry Sturhahn Memorial Award for “his selfless commitment to the SFCC, his unflagging leadership, his devotion to the DGA and its members, and for his magnificent sense of humor” – presented by current SFCC Chair Paul Martin and all the previous Chairs. Rufus was surprised and delighted to find that the plaque bore a jumping bass, a nod to his love of fishing.

    A native of Oklahoma, Rufus spent his teenage years in Richland, Washington. In l952, shortly after graduating from Washington State University with a Bachelors Degree in Drama, Rufus was drafted into the Army and received his first television experience. At the Signal Corps training camp in San Luis Obispo, California, he directed and occasionally performed on the first Armed Forces TV station. From there he was transferred to Washington, DC, where he served in “the code room” at the Pentagon.

    In l955 Rufus began his television career in earnest, first as a stage manager and director at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, then director and production manager at KATU-TV, in Portland, Oregon, and finally as a director with ABC’s owned-and-operated station in San Francisco, KGO-TV.

    One aspect of Rufus’ life, little known outside his immediate circle of friends, was his devotion to playing trombone in a swing orchestra known as The What’s Up Band. Rufus, a dedicated jazz player, enjoyed playing at dances at venues like the San Leandro Veterans’ Hall, where the group played regularly.

    Rufus will be remembered for his cheerful outlook, his warm embrace of friends and family, and his generosity of spirit.

    A celebration of Rufus’s life was held Saturday, February 9th. Rufus’ beloved family and friends gathered at the Hayward Area Senior Center, 22325 North Third Street in Hayward.

    Rufus is survived by his wife Daneen, sister Beth, son Paul, daughters Joy and Karen, step-daughters Holly and Shelley, and six grandchildren: David, Noah, Gus, Sarah, Tyler and Nyla.

    Rufus’ family requests that, in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in his name to Rufus’ favorite causes, which are listed on his memorial website.

    See Ya, Kiddo!

  3. ali says:


    i am leaving the bay area for a while to work out of the country, and i wish i could talk to him a little before i go…

    i know he would be so excited for me, and knowing that makes me see things in a different light.

    i think about him all the time and treasure the times we shared.

    – hakim

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