Bunny Stivers
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Bunny Stivers

(File photo)
(File photo)
Bunny Stivers

STIVERS: Bunny Stivers, writer and co-producer of the “Peoples Choice Awards,” “Circus of the Stars” and other successful television shows, has died peacefully at her home at the age of 93. Bunny was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1945. After the death of her first husband, World War II pilot Bernard Hendel, she moved with her two young sons to New York City in 1957. She landed a job writing fashion copy for the game show “The Big Payoff,” and later worked for Dick Clark on his Saturday night rock and roll show. During that time she met her soon-to-be husband, Bob Stivers, and they collaborated on several shows including “100 Grand,” the “Baby Game” and “Showcase ’68.” In 1969, they moved to Los Angeles and produced “The Movie Game,” a game show featuring Daily Variety gossip columnist Army Archerd. With Bob as executive producer and Bunny as writer and partner, they hit the big time in 1975 with the annual “People’s Choice Awards.” They sold the show in 1982 but it remains on the air to this day. “People’s Choice” was followed by “The Circus of the Stars,” an annual special that featured movie and television stars performing circus and acrobatic acts that ran for 19 seasons. Bob passed away in 1988, and Bunny continued working on “Circus of the Stars” for several more years. After retiring, she became active in the American Film Institute Association serving as its president from 1997-1999 and was a member of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts and a lifelong member of the Writers Guild. Bunny and Bob enjoyed a cosmopolitan lifestyle, becoming personal friends with Hollywood personalities such as Wolfgang Puck and Vincent Price, and travelling frequently to international destinations. But Bunny never lost her small-town charm and straightforwardness. She was consistently generous and inspirational to co-workers, family and friends, and in spite of a decades long career in the rough and tumble world of show business, didn’t have an enemy in the world. She loved Broadway musicals and opera and in her later years built much of her life around music including more than a dozen trips to Europe, New York and elsewhere for performances of the “Ring” and other operas. Although she kept it under wraps, she had a beautiful and sultry alto voice and hearing her sing along with the radio was a rare treat for her friends and family. All will remember her caring personality, her glamorous beauty, her exquisite taste and the graceful good humor she exuded throughout her life. Bunny is survived by her sister, Rita Lowenthal, her sons, Larry Hendel and Tom Stock-Hendel, their wives, Lucy and Vivian, grandchildren Rachael, Matthew, Jennifer and Kristin, and great-grandchildren, Brian, Bobby, Michael, Catherine, Jason, Brooke and Benjamin. Donations may be sent Guide Dogs of America, Sylmar, Calif. A memorial service was held at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Mortuary in Los Angeles.

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