Commercials director served in high posts at DGA

Jane Schimel, one of the first female assistant director/unit production managers in New York, who worked on more than 1,500 commercials over the course of a five-decade career and was a former DGA national board VP, died Nov. 24 of cancer in New York. She was 72.

In a statement Monday, Directors Guild of America president Taylor Hackford said: “We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of former DGA national board vice president Jane Schimel. Jane served at the highest levels of guild leadership and was the DGA’s first female national vice president. Jane was a passionate defender of the rights of assistant directors and UPMs.”

As a director she worked on commercials for brands ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to Burger King and McDonalds.

She was also associated with philanthropic activity at the White House during the Johnson administration.

Schimel joined the DGA in 1964 and served on the DGA’s Eastern AD/UPM Council for almost 40 years beginning in 1966, with multiple terms as chair. She served on the national board of directors in various leadership posts for more than two decades, including a term as national VP from 1993-95.

Schimel was honored with the DGA’s Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is bestowed upon assistant directors or unit production managers in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the guild.

She is survived by her husband, Arthur Koenig.

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