View Full Version : First woman to direct a TV show? (Or: help me correct an IMDb listing.)
11-22-2004, 09:56 PM
The IMDb currently says Amanda Bearse (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000294/) is "The first woman ever to direct episodes of a TV show." I know this is wrong because women were directing M*A*S*H before Married... with Children was even on!
So, anyone know who was the first?
11-22-2004, 10:03 PM
Ida Lupino directed lots of TV shows from about 1953 until the early 70s. I have no idea who was first, but she's likely in the running.
11-22-2004, 10:54 PM
Good call on Ida, Krokodil. She directed TV episodes of General Electric Theater (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0045395/combined) in the 1950s. Don't have a precise date, but the series ran from 1953 to 1962, so chances are good she's the one.
When I read the OP, I thought immediately of Betty Thomas (http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0858525/), who starred in Hill Street Blues and later directed many TV episodes and films. But she's not even close to being first.
Luke is right about several women directing M*A*S*H, and that led me to discover that several women also directed on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, including Nancy Walker, who played Rosie in the Bounty commercials and the deaf maid in Murder By Death.
Joan Darling directed on M*A*S*H, MTM, Rhoda, Taxi, and many other TV shows in the 1970s and '80s.
The Amanda Bearse reference is definitely wrong. Send them a correction, Luke.
11-22-2004, 11:37 PM
According to IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0526946/), Ms. Lupino directed at least a half dozen TV shows and even a few feature films before Ms. Bearse was born. Their trivia section (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0526946/bio) even states she was the 2nd woman to be admitted to the Director's Guild. I can't find who the first one is, though.
11-23-2004, 12:13 AM
Their trivia section (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0526946/bio) even states she was the 2nd woman to be admitted to the Director's Guild. I can't find who the first one is, though.Dorothy Arzner (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002188/). Her imdb bio (derived from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia) describes her working in television after WW2, mostly on commercials, and there are no credits for actual TV series work.
11-23-2004, 06:09 AM
The Amanda Bearse reference is definitely wrong. Send them a correction, Luke.It's Lute (:)) and I already have - it's still being processed. I thought I'd go them one better and find out who was first.
11-23-2004, 06:14 AM
Just occurred to me that whoever is reponsible for that Amanda Bearse trivia meant she was the first to direct TV without having directed any movies but turns out that's wrong, too.
11-23-2004, 06:15 AM
Err..."might have meant."
11-23-2004, 06:34 AM
This terrific listing (http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/L/htmlL/lupinoida/lupinoida.htm) has her early TV credits.
11-23-2004, 06:38 AM
Ida Lupino I mean, director of Gilligan's Island episodes.
11-23-2004, 09:32 AM
Lela Swift (http://www.womenbehindtv.com/women/women.asp?subject=swift) started directing cooking shows in 1951, graduated to Studio One, and made a splash in the 60s as a director for Dark Shadows. She weighs in as a contender, except that she started out as an assistant to another female director in the 40s, Frances Buss (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0124398/), who directed lots of game shows and trifles.
Buss may be the first, and Swift may be the first of substance. Ida Lupino was the first "big name" female director in American television. Buss's career goes back at least as far as 1944 and it's debatable how important a medium TV was at that point. But they all had TV director credits before Amanda Bearse was born.
11-23-2004, 09:42 AM
BTW, Frances Buss' career in TV goes back even further, to 1941 as a production assistant. Women have been active behind the camera since TV's earliest days; se www.womenbehindtv.com for more details.
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