Tuesday, January 8, 2013

TV Director Don Medford R.I.P.

Television director Don Medford died on 12 December 2012 at the age of 95.

Don Medford was born on 26 November 1917 and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. In 1946 he moved to New York to work in live television. In the Fifties he directed episodes of such shows as Tales of Tomorrow, Campbell Playhouse, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Studio 57, Climax, Kraft Theatre, Suspicion, General Electric Theatre, M Squad, Zane Grey Theatre, The Detectives, and The Rifleman.

In the Sixties he directed episodes of such shows as The Untouchables, Bus Stop, The U.S. Steel Hour, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Powell Theatre, The Lieutenant, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., and The Invaders. The episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. he directed was the pilot, "The Vulcan Affair." Among the episodes of The Fugitive that he directed was the two part finale, "The Judgement," which was for a time held the record for the largest audience of a television programme. The record would stand until it was broken by the 21 November 1980 episode of Dallas (on which it was revealed who shot J. R. Ewing).

In the Seventies he directed episodes of such shows as Cannon, The F.B.I., Police Story, and Baretta. He directed the feature films The Hunting Party (1971) and The Organisation (1971). In the Eighties he directed episodes of such shows as Trauma Centre, The Fall Guy, Hell Town, Dynasty, The Colbys, and True Blue.

Don Medford was one of the most skilled directors in television. Indeed, both the pilot for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  and the two part finale of The Fugitive are two of the best directed episodes of any television programme. Indeed, he was particularly skilled at shooting day for night, a talent he used often in the early days of his career. In a medium where direction is often little more than "point and shoot," Mr. Medford was one of those directors whose talent truly stood out.

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