Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Actors who became Directors

This is an audience participation post.  You’ll see how.

A recent discussion led to this:

Often times actors on long-running television shows will go behind the camera and direct an episode or nine.   Some are very good at it.  In my personal experience, Alan Alda is a terrific director.  But then the question arose, how many of these actors were able to branch out and direct shows they weren’t attached to?   The number goes way down.  That’s where you come in.  Feel free to weigh in with names of actors who direct other people's shows.

Alan went on to direct movies, but they were movies that he wrote.  

Some actors leave acting to become directors full-time; others go back and forth.  Either counts.  

A few that I can think of offhand:

Adam Arkin has directed a variety of different shows.  He has 47 different directing credentials on imdb, many are multiple episodes (13 GET SHORTY’S, and 10 JUSTIFIED’S among them).   

Tony Goldwyn has 21 imdb director credits.   Yes, he “megged” 9 episodes of SCANDAL, but he also has called “action” on JUSTIFIED, DEXTER, GREY’S ANATOMY, LAW & ORDER, and directed the feature A WALK ON THE MOON (which is a cool movie with Diane Lane — sort of a cross between DIRTY DANCING and WOODSTOCK).  

Nick Colasanto, before becoming Coach on CHEERS did tons of TV directing from BONANZA to HAWAII 5-0 (the original and good one), to COLUMBO.  

And one can not assemble this list without a big shout-out to Ida Lupino (pictured above).  42 different shows in addition to a long acting career.  And if she wasn’t the only woman director in TV at the time she was one of maybe two.   She really deserves Jackie Robinson status.   Oh, and she also had polio.   Her directing skills were in drama and comedy — helming episodes of THE FUGITIVE, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, THE UNTOUCHABLES, but also BEWITCHED, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, and THE DONNA REED SHOW.  

Ken Olin from THIRTYSOMETHING directs most of the episodes of THIS IS US.    He has credits on 24 different shows including THE WEST WING.  

Kelsey Grammer has directed several pilots that I know of (and worked on).  

Edward James Olmos from MIAMI VICE directed BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and a few other things.  

Dennis Dugan, who’s acted in many shows including MOONLIGHTING and MASH, has directed  NYPD BLUE, ALLY MCBEAL, and several features.  

Oh yeah, and there’s that Ronny Howard guy.   And Penny Marshall.  And Clint Eastwood.

Okay, so who am I missing? 

150 comments :

Sean said...

Rob Reiner did a little directing. He's a better director than he ever was an actor.

Jeff Carter said...

Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)

C. Warren Dale said...

Fred Savage, little Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years, is now a prolific director of television for kids and adults, including 19 episodes of IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA.

Jonathan Frakes, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's William Riker, started directing on his show, and still directs a lot of hokey cable dramas, and a few feature films in and out of the Star Trek universe.

Joey Smallwood said...

Hi Ken,

Eric Lanueville was on St. Elsewhere? I see his name as a director in tons of shows.

Long-time reader, first-time commenter,
Randy

Jim P said...

Helen Shaver has been working as a director since the late 90s. recent TV credits include episodes of Vikings, Lovecraft Country and Westworld.

Mark said...

Penny Marshall

Mark said...

Penny Marshall

Doug said...

A lot of mid-90s Star Trek actors went on to direct, usually starting with Star Trek episodes, but in some cases moving on to other shows. In particular, I think Johnathan Frakes, Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxanne Dawson have had successful directing careers away from Trek.

Don Kemp said...

Fred Savage

Jon Freestone said...

Jonathan Frakes actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has 44 Director Credits in IMDB

Tom Scarlett said...

You mentioned Ron Howard. Anson Williams (Potsie) directed quite a few shows in the 90s, includiing BAYWATCH, PROFILER, and SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH. Not sure about Ralph Malph.

Don Kemp said...

Noam Pitlik, Jerry Paris, James Widdoes

Jim said...

Actor-director lists - how about Laura Petrie’s neighbor-dentist Jerry Paris for starters.

I can’t reconcile Nick Colasanto as a top-show TV director with what I understood to be the simple ways of the actor portraying Coach. I’m missing something there.

Bob Uecker Is a National Treasure said...

First two that came to my mind were Charles Haid and Jerry Paris.

Lemuel said...

Jerry Paris

Don Kemp said...

Rob Reiner, Anson Williams, Tony Dow

Jeff Alexander said...

Jackie Cooper who made the transition from Oscar-nominated child star to character actor to Emmy Award-winning director (for M*A*S*H and The White Shadow).

Mark Solomon said...

Two who come immediately to mind are comedic character actor Noam Pitlik, who seemed to become the go-to director for “Barney Miller”, and Jerry Paris, who established an amazing string of directing credits after memorably portraying Rob Petrie’s next-door neighbor Dr. Jerry Helper on “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

Dave Creek said...

I'm sure you'll have plenty of STAR TREK fans mentioning Jonathan Frakes, who got his start on THE NEXT GENERATION, also directing episodes of DEEP SPACE NINE and VOYAGER, as well as the Trek movies FIRST CONTACT and INSURRECTION. But he went on to direct episodes of DIAGNOSIS: MURDER, CASTLE, AGENTS OF SHIELD, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, and many others. More recently, he's come back into the STAR TREK fold, with episodes of DISCOVERY and PICARD.

He's apparently well-liked and efficient, with his nickname being "Two-take Frakes."

Daniel said...

After The Incredible Hulk, Bill Bixby went on to direct a lot of series that he was not an actor on.

Jeff L said...

A number of Star Trek alumni have pivoted to directing. Leonard Nimoy is the most obvious example from the classic days.

Jonathan Frakes has directed a lot of television over the past couple of decades, both within and outside the Star Trek franchise, as have Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson.

Greg said...

First to pop into my mind - Fred Savage from Wonder Years. Currently 74 Director credits on IMDB.

gottacook said...

Lawrence Dobkin (1919-2002) belongs on the list; he had a very long acting career and also directed lots of TV from the 1950s through the '80s.

John Hajduk said...

How about Jackie Cooper? I know he directed episodes of MASH, Rockford Files and Black Sheep Squadron among others. And his acting career goes all the way back to being a Little Rascal in the thirties.

Bill said...

Rob Reiner's the obvious omission that I'm sure someone else has already mentioned.

Star Trek has a lot of this. Nimoy and Shatner directed Star Trek movies, but also Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Robert Duncan McNeill (Paris), Roxann Dawson (Torres) from later shows have done a lot of TV directing work.

John Hajduk said...

What about Jackie Cooper? I know he directed episodes of MASH, Rockford Files and Black Sheep Squadron among others. And his acting career goes all the way back to being a Little Rascal in the 1930s.

Bob Waldman said...

Jackie Cooper, Dick Martin, Jimmie Komack, Bob Sweeney, Jerry Paris, and of course, Sheldon Leonard

Mike Barer said...

Rob Reiner?

Anonymous said...

Bill Bixby?

Kosmo13 said...

James Coburn directed an episode of The Rockford Files, as did Richard Crenna. Tony Dow directed episodes of Swamp Thing.

Bg Porter said...

James Widdoes jumps to mind (didn't realize until checking his IMDB page that he had acted in an ep of AfterMASH).

E. Yarber said...

Just off the top of my head, Dick Martin directed several sitcoms, including THE BOB NEWHART SHOW and NEWHART. Ivan Dixon went from HOGAN'S HEROES to helm many TV shows. Paul Henried turned director after appearing in classic Warner Brothers films like NOW, VOYAGER and CASABLANCA, including 28 episodes of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. William Conrad moved from prolific radio work to direction in the 1960s (including two episodes of his former audio vehicle GUNSMOKE) before returning in front of the camera for CANNON.

Jim UK said...

Fred Savage has done well in TV directing, 74 credits including Always Sunny, Modern Family, The Goldbergs

Michael Hagerty said...

James Komack.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0464506/

Vrej said...

How about Jonathan Frakes? He started directing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (the show he starred on) and has since helmed a ton of TV (and a handful of movies), various Trek series among them but other things, too.

E. Yarber said...

And John Cassavetes.

Glenn said...

In the Star Trek universe, Jonathan Frakes and Levar Burton have become pretty prolific directors for all of the Trek tv shows and movies.

Cory said...

Bill Bixby directed a LOT of TV, including WALTER.

Brian said...

Peter Bonerz has a LOT of credits, on the Bob Newhart Show and beyond that, including Wings.

David Schwimmer directed some episodes Little Britain USA.

Philip Charles Mackenzie directed and even played a director in an episode of the "Jackie Thomas Show". He's also directed According to Jim.

Michael J. Fox directed an episode of "Brooklyn Bridge".

Carl Reiner directed four episodes of "Good Morning World"

Ben Scripps said...

Came here to name several Trek stars, but I think they've been mentioned once or twice.

How about Bobcat Goldthwait? It may not all be high art, but he's got 35 directorial credits to his name on IMDB.

Dave said...

I've notice Laura Innes has directed a number of TV shows. IMBD shows her with directing 17 different shows and multiple episodes of them usually, so she must be doing a good job. Several people have mentioned Fred Savage from Wonder Years and I noticed over the years that Charles Haid from Hill Street Blues (as well) directed a number of shows.

Bob Leszczak said...

Jackie Cooper, Ted Bessell, Noam Pitlik, Peter Bonerz, Denzel Washington, Ben Affleck, Dick Martin to name a few.

Troy McClure said...

Patrick Duffy started out directing episodes of shows he was in, Dallas and Step by Step, but more recently has directed episodes of Major Crimes.

Scott Baio, the legendary star of that acclaimed masterpiece Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, used to direct occasional episodes of sitcoms, but he hasn't directed anything since 1999. It's always an exciting day in the Baio household when a Happy Days residuals check arrives. Chachi gotta eat!

Joseph Aubele said...

Charles Haid (acted on HILL STREET BLUES); 44 directing credits on IMDB (https://m.imdb.com/name/nm0354024/filmotype?ref_=m_nm_flmg)

Paul Gottlieb said...

Kevin Hooks moved from acting ("Sounder", "The White Shadow") to a full-time directing career, where he has been extremely prolific

Unknown said...

Fred Savage, Betty Thomas, Jason Bateman (although he directs mostly stuff that he's in) Paul Feig, Jon Favreau. Shawn Levy started out as an actor and became a very successful director/producer. Going back a ways with Bill Bixby & Michael Landon.

And then there's that group that directs mostly features: Redford, Clooney, Beatty, Affleck, Krasinki, Streisand, Costner, Ramis, Rob Reiner.

Paul B said...

Eric La Salle from ER has 30 directing credits on IMDB.

Kai said...

Ted Wass switched from acting to directing with "Blossom" and has directed a lot of sitcom episodes.

gottacook said...

All this Star Trek emphasis among commenters reminds me that I should have mentioned that Lawrence Dobkin not only directed for Trek (broadcast episode 2, "Charlie X" with Robert Walker Jr.) but also acted (decades later, in Klingon makeup).

Anonymous said...

Some guy named Welles.
Forgot the first name.

Canadian Dude said...

Peter Billingsley (Ralph from "A Christmas Story")

Michael Lembeck

Charles Martin Smith

Jason Alexander

Don Scardino

Brian said...

You actually mentioned one on your weekend post! Henry Winkler.

Casey Vanlandingham said...

Amanda Bearse (MARRIED... WITH CHILDREN) directed most of the last season or two of that series and then has went on to be a prolific director also, according to IMDb (28 credits)

Roseann said...

I think Debbie Allen deserves to be on that list.

Brian said...

Thomas Carter, who played a bit of a lummox in "The White Shadow" has many director credits.

Bill Duke goes back and forth between directing and acting. He has a unique advantage. Have you seen this man's eyes when he's being serious? YOU try disobeying his direction!

hollphoto said...

Amanda Bearse , Marcy from Married with Children went on to direct.

Joe Dungan said...

Has anyone said Thomas Carter yet? He started a cast member on "The White Shadow" before pivoting to directing episodes of that show. Since then, he's had a great career as a director -- including lots of drama pilots, for some reason.

James said...

Will Mackenzie, who married Carol the receptionist on The Bob Newhart Show. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Mackenzie

Joan Darling https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Darling who directed Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (you have to be old to remember that), and some episode about Chuckles the Clown on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

John Astin

Danny Devito has two credits for directing Mary. How was he to work with, Ken?





Pat Reeder said...

A couple of people mentioned the first one I thought of, Peter Bonerz of "The Bob Newhart Show." He not only directed shows such as "Friends," he also did a cameo as the theatergoer who was screamed at by Ben Stiller.

Anonymous said...

Though he finished his career acting— check out Coppola’s Zoetrope production, The Escape Artist (with Jackie Coogan and 2 Bowery Boys ! ) — Desi Arnaz did some TV directing—credited and otherwise
Wikipedia
As director
1959: Sunday Showcase (1 episode, 1959)
1959: The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (3 episodes, 1959–1960)
1966: The Carol Channing Show (TV)
1967: The Mothers-In-Law (24 episodes, 1967–1968)

Cowboy Surfer said...

Tim Van Patten.

More Director than Actor now.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Peter Bonerz directed a 1974 "Mary Tyler Moore" episode while co-starring on "The Bob Newhart Show" (Lou brings in a young news consultant, played by the wonderful Richard Masur.)

Bonerz also frequently directed the original "Murphy Brown," though not the episode featuring Marcia Wallace reprising her role as Carol the sectetary and a cameo by Newhart.

Betty Thomas of "Hill Street Blues" also comes to mind. Among other projects, she directed the theatrical "Brady Bunch" parody in 1995.

Mark said...

Zach Braff

Buttermilk Sky said...

Charles Laughton directed only one film but it's a classic: NIGHT OF THE HUNTER. Apparently it was a box office failure and he was never asked to do another.

Erich Von Stroheim was an actor before becoming a director. When he was fired from his last film, QUEEN KELLY, Gloria Swanson took over as director. That's the movie Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis are watching in SUNSET BOULEVARD, which is full of in-jokes. It also has another great actor-director, Buster Keaton (if you look fast).

Paul Newman directed several films including HARRY & SON and SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION.

Of course, Sir Charles Chaplin.

Kyle said...

Zach Braff directed a bunch of Scrubs episodes and his own movie, but also other shows including second episode of Ted Lasso.

Jeffrey Graebner said...

Most of the ones I could think of have already been mentioned. One that hasn't been mentioned that comes to mind is Helen Hunt, who has been directed a number of TV drama episodes in recent years.

tavm said...

Before directing several eps of "Dallas", Larry Hagman directed a drive-in monster movie called Beware! The Blob in which he appeared at the beginning. I remember it being a satire on such movies...

zapatty said...

Shaun Evans has directed three episodes of ENDEAVOUR, as well as a few episodes of CASUALTY (a UK sopa opera).

Devlin Thompson said...

MIcky Dolenz has directed a considerable amount of stuff over the years, especially in the UK. He's directed over 50 TV episodes, only one of which was on THE MONKEES.

Lemuel said...

Gene Kelly directed A GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN in 1967 after a few dead-end acting roles...

Anonymous said...

This post has me wondering how many actors have given up performing and have transitioned to being full-time screenwriters (or novelists - such as the late great David Niven)?

Steve Bailey said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Diane Keaton, though I don't think her directorial achievements are as good as her acting ones.

Anonymous said...

Tim Busfield

Jason Roberts said...

Richard Donner started out as an actor but is only known as a Director

Joseph Finn said...

And it's worth noting that Lupino had an excellent feature film directing career, from the wonderful desert nor The Hitch Hiker to the bigamy drama The Bigamist (where she also starred( to the delightful The Trouble With Angels (which has a great Rosalind Russell performance).

brian t said...

I'm surprised no-one has mentioned Jodie Foster yet, since she's had decent success as a director e.g. Little Man Tate, Orange Is The New Black. Sofia Coppola is another, though more successful as a director than actress. Sarah Polley is another, known for writing and directing the comedy Take This Waltz.

Here's an odd one: Leni Riefenstahl started as a dancer and actress before directing, made some ... questionable films for the Nazis, and holds the record for the longest gap between directing projects: 48 years (1954 - 2002).

Anonymous said...

Nancy Malone

Actor in several shows including Naked City, The Long Hot Summer, and The Twilight Zone.

Director of several series including Judging Amy, Star Trek: Voyager and Diagnosis: Murder.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Malone

Mildred Potter said...

Didn't Harry Morgan direct a few MASH episodes ?

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the other comments, but Fred Savage has directed The Connors, Blackish, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, Fresh off the Boat, and many others.
Jerry Paris (Jerry Helper on DVD show) directed a few DVD shows and a lot of Happy Days. Quite a few movies in there too.

Pam, St. Louis.

Brian said...

Believe it or not, Jerry Lewis qualifies for this list. Yes, he directed quite a few movies, but he also directed an episode of "Brothers", the Showtime series created by David Lloyd, an episode of "The Bold Ones" and an episode of a show called "Super Force", so he's directed a sitcom, a drama and an action show.

He also helped develop the "video assist" system to help preview shot film before it was developed.

JohnP said...

Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest.

VincentS said...

Birthday boy William Shatner directed several episodes of TJ Hooker as was well as the feature Star Trek V and, of course, Leanard Nimoy direced one "Hooker" and STIII and IV as well as several non-Star Trek movies like THREE MEN AND A BABY, which featured a young Nancy Travis.

Buttermilk Sky said...

How could I forget Laurence Olivier (HAMLET, HENRY V, THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, etc.)? Or Kenneth Branagh, who has done his best to follow Sir Larry's footsteps with his own HENRY V and HAMLET, and who plays Olivier in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN?

Sidney Lumet began as a boy actor in Yiddish theater. His father Baruch Lumet was a star in the theater and appeared in a number of movies, including EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX* by a certain actor/director who must not be named.

stephen catron said...

Jon Favreau: seems like he can do about everything:Writes, directs, acts, produces

RobW said...

Nancy Walker directed Can't Stop The Music.

Bob Paris said...

Sorry if these are already mentioned, since I did not want to read through 82 previous comments, but how about...

Richard Crenna - 17 directorial credits
Eric Laneuville, formerly acted on Room 222 and St Elsewhere, has 98 credits
Thomas Carter, also formerly acted on The White Shadow, has 57 credits
Anson Williams, Potsie on Happy Days, has 43 credits
James Whitmore Jr has 56 credits acting and 82 directing

Falconetti said...

I love the punters who don't read the prior comments.

Fed by the muse said...

Gene Reynolds, Robert Gist...Kevin Costner

Ron Havens said...

One I can think of is Peter Bonerz who started out directing on The Bob Newhart show in the 70s and went on to a bunch of other TV shows.

WB Jax said...

Linda Gray has directed a bit

cbm said...

Timothy Busfield has quite a few director credits.

WB Jax said...

Don Adams directed a lot of latter season Get Smart eps. Weren't James Frawley and James Komack actors first? I seem to recall Jack Lord directed some "5-Os."

DBenson said...

Did I miss Jerry Lewis? and Woody Allen?

Various old-school film clowns and comic actors directed themselves, either officially or by having wide control over their productions. Chaplin of course directed from early on (as did Keystone costar Mabel Normand). Keaton and Lloyd worked with close-knit teams, and while neither got many director credits both definitely shaped most of their films. Stan Laurel had major creative input, even while sparring with producer Hal Roach. Gene Wilder wrote, directed and starred in comedies after "Young Frankenstein".

You might talk about how actors direct. And for that matter, how directors function as actors taking direction.

Chaplin's approach was to play every part, and have his actors imitate him (would have loved to see him directing Brando in "Countess From Hong Kong"). I've read that some former actors are far more emphatic about how actors work and direct accordingly. I've also read about tough times on some sets where a coworker is suddenly the boss.

Brian said...

Has anyone mentioned the punters that haven't read the previous comm...oh.

Kosmo13 said...

Paul Mazursky was an actor before he became a director, as was Ezra Stone.

Child actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tim Matheson became grown-up directors.

Anonymous said...

A reminder of a perfect anagram for the aforementioned Leni Riefenstahl = A fine Hitler lens
Stroheim directed, +was replaced, on a talkie Walking Down Broadway—retitled Hello Sister
Three more silent comedians who helmed others’ films-
Monty Banks, Lupino Lane (kin of Ida Lupino), and Roscoe Arbuckle—
The latter two — for different reasons — often used pseudonyms

Cap'n Bob said...

Moochie.

Mel Brooks.

It's Dr. Jerry Halper, not Helper.

71dude said...

Melissa Joan Hart
Joanna Kerns
Lea Thompson
Frank Bonner
Richard Kline
Malcolm Jamal Warner
Keith Gordon

Bob K said...

I can’t believe that nobody’s mentioned Tim Reid.

-bee said...

Gene Nelson was a great singer/dancer born just a little too late to get established in the way Astaire and Gene Kelly did but there are some great numbers he did if you poke around on youtube. I got curious about what happened to him not long ago and saw on IMBD he established a career as a TV director - including directing some episodes of MASH. Did you work with him Ken?

-bee said...

Strike the part of my last comment saying Gene Nelson worked on MASH. For some reason confused him with Jackie Cooper.

Headacher said...

Patrick McGoohan directed episodes of his Secret Agent and The Prisoner. He also directed 5 Columbos, 2 of which he did not appear in. However, those two episodes, "Last Salute to the Commodore" and "Murder With Too Many Notes" are regarded (by Columbo "experts" such as myself) as below par. "Last Salute" departs from the usual "viewer knows who the murderer is" to a "who done it". As for "Too Many Notes", McGoohan mishandled the script so terribly, that he accidentally removed the screenwriters "gotcha" evidence! (In the episodes conclusion, Columbo actually hasn't proven anything. The murderer simply gives up.)

zapatty said...

Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones. Mike Farrell also directed five episodes of MASH and a Jamie Farr TV movie.

emmphx said...

Amanda Tapping, the female lead of Stargate SG1, directs a lot. 24 credits in a dozen shows.

Shiri Appleby (original Roswell, latest gig was co-star of Unreal) is now directing. Segued from a child actor age 4 on Thirty-something through adulthood. 7 tv directorial credits; she just went into directing comedy (Mixed-ish).

Simon Baker (Mentalist) directed a handful of that series and now is doing his own movies in Oz. "Breath".

kent said...

Best director Oscar for Braveheart.

Howard Hoffman said...

Dick Martin of Rowan and. Did a bunch of MTM studio shows.

Anthony Hoffman said...

Fred Savage

zapatty said...

There's at least a handful of Savages here. Be careful.

Fed by the muse said...

Burgess Meredith directed a number of stage productions though I'm not sure if he did anything for film.

johnsterMonster said...

Bob Odenkirk.
There's actually a Mr Show episode where they appreciate Tarantino, director; but mock Tarantino the actor.

Keanu Reeves -his Man of Tai Chi is a solid martial arts film. And if you're willing to go down that road, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and um, Steven Seagal.

Sue T. said...

In the category of Oscar winning or nominated former TV actors not named Clint Eastwood or Ron Howard:

Robert Redford -- Best Director Oscar winner for "Ordinary People."
Warren Beatty -- Best Director Oscar winner for "Reds."
George Clooney -- Best Director Oscar nominee for "Good Night, and Good Luck."

Gary said...

Here's one I knew nobody would think of: George Reeves directed the last three episodes of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. (Always happy for any reason to mention my boyhood hero!)

Mike Doran said...

The Yin And Yang Of Mr. Go, written and directed by Burgess Meredith in 1970.

It's on YouTube - man, is it ever.

But should you decide to give it a look, first check out a brief interview excerpt with Jeff Bridges (whose second movie this was), in which he recounts how this film came to be "made".

A once-in-a-lifetime experience (and believe me, once is enough).

Mitch said...

Someone mentioned Chaplin, so I'll add Lionel Barrymore, Hal Roach, who acted and directed as well as ran a studio, Mabel Normand (who acted and directed -- and directed Chaplin), Charley Chase, Stan Laurel, Edgar Kennedy and Buster Keaton.

L. Taylor said...

Cap'n Bob- Jerry Paris did indeed play Jerry Helper (not Halper) on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

Mark said...

Jerry Lewis's One More Time is a really bad movie but it's worth checking for Davis's performance. He does all the physical comedy in the style of Lewis.

Mark said...

Sydney Pollack started as an actor

Mark said...

Sydney Pollack started as an actor

Spencer said...

Joe Regalbuto!

thevidiot said...

Russell Johnson ("The Professor"),Robert Clary ("Leboe"), Joey Lawrence, Harry Anderson, Michael Lembeck, & Tyler Perry come to mind. I really enjoyed working with Noam Pitlik (mentioned above) on a series of 1920's sketches for Showtime.

Anonymous said...

Mike Nichols
and
Elaine May
and
Ernst Lubitsch - who began as a silent comedy actor.
He pops up with Frank Morgan in the trailer
for The Shop Around The Corner.

thirteen said...

Darn it, Gary, you beat me to it. Yes, George Reeves. He directed the final three episodes of Adventures of Superman. The first was "The Brainy Burro," the one about Carmelita, and George cast his old friend Natividad VacĂ­o as a Mexican police detective. The episode wasn't very good, but George followed up with two of the strongest episodes in the series, "The Perils of Superman" and "All That Glitters." George told Jack Larson at John Hamilton's funeral that he was giving up the acting "bull" and becoming a director but, even two years after Superman was over, George's phone never rang.

lauramcc said...

Kevin Bacon directed at least a few episodes of the closer. Not sure what else he may have done. His wife was the star and their daughter had a short arc as well, so a family affair.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Yes. I believe the first "M*A*S*H" episode Morgan directed was the superb "Novacaine Mutiny," aired Jan. 27, 1976 during his and Mike Farrell's debut season.

Anonymous said...

Ivan Dixon from Hogan's Heroes had several directing credits including 13 Magnum episodes in the 80s.

Stephen Gallagher said...

ER cast regular Paul McCrane ("Robert Romano")directed my Eleventh Hour episode SUBWAY. He did a terrific job on a script with a lot of complicated action, and has the credits of a director with nothing to prove.

Anonymous said...

Ivan Dixon from Hogan's Heroes had several directing credits including 13 Magnum episodes in the 80s.

DogDad said...

Can’t leave out Dick Martin (from Rowan & Martin) who directed nearly 100 comedy episodes over his career.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Dugan was and still is an actor. He has Directed over 40 movies and TV shows. Most notably a ton of Adam Sandler movies (Happy Gilmore, etc.).

Coral Johnson said...

Natasha Lyonne seems like she is pivoting to Directing with credits on 6 series since 2019.

Alan Gollom said...

Eric Stolz

Camtronic4000 said...

Hill Street Blues' Betty Thomas. Over 30 directing credits including Dream On, Grace & Frankie and movies (Private Parts, I Spy, Dr. Dolitte)

Anonymous said...

Vic Morrow.

Fed by the muse said...

Victor French on some of Michael Landon's shows, some Gunsmokes, even a Buck Rogers.

Gary said...

Ken, this post brings to mind a Friday Question: When the director of a sitcom is just as famous as the actors (such as Dick Martin), is he visible to the studio audience while the episode is shooting? If so, it seems that would be somewhat of a distraction. So is the famous director perhaps introduced to the audience in advance, so he/she can acknowledge them and say a few words?

DyHrdMET said...

I've been watching later season CHEERS and observed that Frasier and Lilith didn't really have a good marriage. Was this intentional? There seems to be some humor in it. Or am I completely wrong?

Jahn Ghalt said...

Though not famous as an actor before Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino's main "training" (unlike his self-training as a filmaker) was as an actor.

John Slattery was the first of Weiner's "stable" to get the nod on Mad Men, then Jon Hamm.

Bryan Cranston directed Breaking Bad once or twice.

Can't say that any of those three "became directors" - certainly not in the sense that Ken is/was (or Kevin Smith) as guest director.

karen said...

Clark Johnson (Alpha House, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire among 104 acting credits) has 67 Director credits mainly TV Series, but some features as well.

Arthur said...

I’m a bit late to the reply party, but noticed no one said Richard Benjamin, so I will! A funny actor, good director, and nice person as well.

Fred C said...

Michael Landon did it all!! Write, direct, produce and even act a little too.

Mark said...

I forgot Bob Sweeney, perhaps the finest single-camera comedy director ever. He was the definitive Andy Griffith director (80 episodes) and did everything from Hogan's Heroes to Hawaii 50. Movie quality camera work and composition and fantastic comic instincts.

Cecil Newson said...

Who are you missing?????? Jerry Paris!!!

Unknown said...

FYI Jason Bateman is the youngest person to have a directors guild card. Doing pretty well on Ozark.

Brother Herbert said...

Mack Sennett
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
Billy Gilbert
George Marshall
Paul Frees
Dennis Hopper
Sofia Coppola
Paul Henreid
Ed Harris
Peter Falk
Bradley Cooper

Wayne said...

Jimmy Stewart directed an episode of GE Theatre "The Trail to Christmas."

ScarletNumber said...

James Widdoes, who is best known as Hoover in Animal House and the dad in Charles in Charge, has directed hundreds of episodes of TV shows, mostly for Chuck Lorre.

Sami said...

Peter Bonerz of The Bob Newhart Show directed episodes of that show and went on to other series, I think. I think he did a lot of Friends episodes.

Anthony Adams said...

Dwayne Hickman directed a dozen or so TV episodes

J.P. Pelzman said...

Here's one I only found out about a few days ago--was looking up the credits of the late, great Jessica Walter, and found out a classic Quincy episode of hers was helmed by the late former character actor Ray Danton. Danton, who was the quintessential Western villain, wound up with 64 directing credits, including 25 Quincys.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you didn't think of Jerry Paris.

In addition to all the ones already mentioned, Frank Oz.