Thursday, January 3, 2013

RIP Don Medford

Director Don Medford died December 12th. He was 95.

Medford died December 12, 2012 at West Hills, California Hospital and Medical Center, his daughter Lynn told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday January 2, 2013. Medford had been a resident of the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s retirement home in Woodland Hills since 2001, she said.

Born Donald Muller on November 26, 1917, he was a native of Detroit who moved to New York in 1946 to work on such live TV shows as the sci-fi anthology Tales of Tomorrow and Medallion Theatre, Medford was brought to Hollywood by director Alfred Hitchcock and helmed two installments of the anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1955.

In a career that spanned nearly a half-century, Medford also directed “The Organization” (1971), the third film in which Sidney Poitier played Detective Virgil Tibbs, and the Western “The Hunting Party”, also released in 1971, starring Oliver Reed, Gene Hackman and Candice Bergen.

But Medford made his mark in television. He helmed 26 episodes of the 1980s primetime soap Dynasty; 32 episodes of The F.B.I., which ran from 1965-74; 19 episodes of the ’70s crime drama Baretta (he also wrote a pair); and 13 episodes of The Detectives, another cop series that starred Robert Taylor and Tige Andrews and aired from 1959-62. He also did five episodes of The Twilight Zone, including “A Passage for Trumpet,” starring Jack Klugman, who died December 24th. Medford also directed the last episode of TV’s ‘The Fugitive” entitled “The Judgment Part II,” in which accused killer Richard Kimble (David Janssen) clears his name and finally catches up with the one-armed man (Bill Raisch) who had murdered his wife, was viewed in 25.7 million households. More than 78 million people, or 45.9 percent of American households with a television set, tuned in.

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