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March 19, 2009

Director Harry Harris dies

Emmy Winner for Fame

Director Harry Harris dies

Emmy Winner for Fame

Harry Harris, a television director who won a Primetime Emmy for his work on the television series Fame, died March 19, 2009, in Los Angeles. Harris, who had experienced complications of myelodsplasia, was 86.

Harris, began working in Hollywood in the late 1930s, and was still directing episodes of the WB series 7th Heaven in 2005 while in his eighties.

In addition to Fame, Harris earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for an episode of The Waltons and a Daytime Emmy nomination for directing the afterschool special Have You Ever Been Ashamed of Your Parents?

He also directed episodes of Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, Kung Fu, Lost in Space, Hawaii Five-O, Falcon’s Crest and Eight is Enough.

Harris was born in Kansas City and in 1937 moved to Los Angeles, where he began working in the a mailroom at Columbia Studios. He became an apprentice sound cutter and then an assistant sound effects editor.

He enlisted in the Army at the start of WWII and reported to Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, where his supervisor was Ronald Reagan, who hired him as a sound effects editor for training and combat films.

When the war ended, he became an assistant film editor and then an editor at Desilu. His directing debut came when Desi Arnaz gave him a chance to try directing while working editor on the Rory Calhoun series The Texan. Four Star’s Ed Adamson then hired Harris to direct Wanted, Dead or Alive starring Steve McQueen, and he went on to direct episodes for numerous Western series before turning mostly to TV dramas.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a stepson.

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