British-born writer, producer and director Norman Felton, the exec producer of numerous American television series, including “Dr. Kildare” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died of natural causes in Santa Barbara, Calif., on June 25. He was 99.
Felton created “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” starring Robert Vaughn, with Sam Rolfe. “Dr. Kildare” began as a film series in the late 1930s before heading to radio and then eventually television, where Felton exec produced all 190 episodes of the series starring Richard Chamberlain.
Felton won an Emmy in 1950, in the very early days of television, for directing an episode of “Robert Montgomery Presents.” As exec producer, he drew a mention when “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was nominated for outstanding drama series in 1966 and he shared a nom for TV biopic “Babe” with Stanley Rubin in 1976.
Felton produced several projects spun off from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” including the “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” TV series, starring Stefanie Powers, and a number of related theatrical films. (A new feature adaptation of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” is in the works at Warner Bros., with Guy Ritchie set to direct.)
Felton also exec produced a number of other series, including “The Eleventh Hour,” “The Lieutenant,” “Strange Report,” “Executive Suite” and the 1973 legal drama “Hawkins,” starring Jimmy Stewart, as well as telepics including “Ghostbreakers”; “Marriage: Year One,” with Sally Field; psychic mystery “Baffled!,” with Leonard Nimoy; and 1979’s “…And Your Name Is Jonah,” with James Woods and Sally Struthers.
Norman Frances Felton was born in London to a modest family and, as a teenager, with his family emigrated to the U.S., settling in Cleveland. He held many jobs until he entered the U. of Iowa, where he received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theatre Arts.
After college he worked in community theaters throughout the country, moved on to radio in Chicago and then eventually to live television in New York and then to Los Angeles. Felton directed episodes of “The United States Steel Hour” and “The Alcoa Hour” and then did his first TV producing work on several episodes of “Studio One in Hollywood” in the late 1950s.
Eventually he formed Arena Prods., the banner behind most of his series.
Felton received an Honorary Lifetime Membership Award from the Producers Guild of American in 1997.
His wife Aline and a daughter preceded him in death.
Survivors include a daughter and a son; two grandsons; a great-grandson; and his companion Denise Aubuchon.
Donation may be made to Doctors Without Borders or the ACLU.