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Lela Swift

  • Birthplace: New York City
  • Birthday: February 01
Date of passing: 
August 04, 2015

Obituary

Obituary: 

Lela Swift was a director and producer best known for her work on the daytime dramas Dark Shadows and Ryan’s Hope.

Swift began her career as a secretary at CBS, then rose the ranks to production gopher, assistant director and, finally, director. She found mentors in producer Worthington Miner and directors Franklin Schaffner and Paul Nickell. In 1950 she replaced Schaffner as a director on Studio One, an anthology series.

She also directed episodes of the television series The Vaughn Monroe Show, The DuPont Show of the Week, Norman Corwin Presents, The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, The Wide World of Mystery, Suspense and The Web. The latter included a young James Dean in one of his first TV roles.

In addition, she directed public affairs specials and television movies, including The Glamour Trap, Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon and Deadly Visitor.

From 1966 to 1971 Swift worked on the supernatural daytime drama Dark Shadows. She was credited on nearly 600 episodes in all, including 126 as a producer. The series followed the wealthy Collins family of Collinsport, Maine, who are tormented by strange occurrences.

She found her longest run on the daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope. She worked on more than 800 episodes over the course of 14 years — consistently from 1975 to 1981, and one episode in 1989. The series was set in Riverside on the upper West Side of Manhattan and centered mostly on the Ryans, a working-class Irish-American family. She won three Daytime Emmy Awards for her work.

Lela Swift was a director and producer best known for her work on the daytime dramas Dark Shadows and Ryan’s Hope.

Swift began her career as a secretary at CBS, then rose the ranks to production gopher, assistant director and, finally, director. She found mentors in producer Worthington Miner and directors Franklin Schaffner and Paul Nickell. In 1950 she replaced Schaffner as a director on Studio One, an anthology series.

She also directed episodes of the television series The Vaughn Monroe Show, The DuPont Show of the Week, Norman Corwin Presents, The ABC Afternoon Playbreak, The Wide World of Mystery, Suspense and The Web. The latter included a young James Dean in one of his first TV roles.

In addition, she directed public affairs specials and television movies, including The Glamour Trap, Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon and Deadly Visitor.

From 1966 to 1971 Swift worked on the supernatural daytime drama Dark Shadows. She was credited on nearly 600 episodes in all, including 126 as a producer. The series followed the wealthy Collins family of Collinsport, Maine, who are tormented by strange occurrences.

She found her longest run on the daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope. She worked on more than 800 episodes over the course of 14 years — consistently from 1975 to 1981, and one episode in 1989. The series was set in Riverside on the upper West Side of Manhattan and centered mostly on the Ryans, a working-class Irish-American family. She won three Daytime Emmy Awards for her work.

Swift died August 4, 2015, in Santa Monica, California. She was 96.

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