Syd Cassyd founded the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1946, which has grown into one of the most influential organizations in the entertainment industry today. In addition to sponsoring the annual Emmy Awards, which recognize outstanding entertainment and news achievement in television, the academy has a variety of outreach and archival programs.
Born in Teaneck, N.J., on Dec. 28, 1908, Cassyd worked for the Army Signal Corps as a film editor under then-Col. Frank Capra during World War II. After the war, Cassyd moved to Hollywood, where he worked as an editor for Box Office magazine, as well as a grip at Paramount Pictures.
It was at Paramount that he met and teamed up with legendary TV groundbreaker Klaus Landsberg, known for, among other things, pioneering live TV news coverage. Cassyd and Landsberg worked on an experimental Los Angeles television station that would eventually become KTLA-TV Channel 5.
While at KTLA, Cassyd felt that TV needed an organization in which people could share their ideas about the fledgling medium and talk about the future of the industry. He founded the academy with seven people who came to the first meeting. By the fifth meeting, there were 250 members.
Cassyd became the fourth president of the academy in 1950 and over the years held various other positions. In 1991, the academy's board of governors created the Syd Cassyd Founder's Award in his honor and presented the first to him.