Edward Ludlum, director of both stage and television, died of heart failure in Los Angeles on Nov. 21. He was 80.
Ludlum directed both Broadway and Off Broadway plays in New York as well as in Los Angeles. He also helped invigorate the L.A. theater scene, directing the first West Coast productions of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” and “Compulsion,” by Meyer Levin.
Born in New York City, Ludlum’s directorial debut was an extremely well-received production of Eugene O’Neill’s “Desire Under the Elms” in 1951. He also directed the first American production of “The Happy Man” by Norman Ginsbury, starring Ann Meara and won awards for a series of productions of Williams’ “Glass Menagerie.”
In addition, several of Ludlum’s play productions brought relatively unknown thespians to the attention of Hollywood. Lorne Greene’s stage debut was in Sartre’s “Crime of Passion,” and Ted Knight starred in “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water is Running.”
In the late 1950s and early ’60s, he moved directed several TV series, including the Westerns, “Death Valley Days” which was hosted by Ronald Reagan, “Whispering Smith” starring Audie Murphy, and James Arness in “Gunsmoke.” Ludlum also directed Mickey Spillane’s “Mike Hammer.”
He is survived by two cousins, Tom Carroll, an actor, and the author Robert Ludlum.