You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Sheldon, Prolific TV Director, Dies at 95

TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95.

His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home.

Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 episodes of television over his long career. Among them are 44 episodes of “The Millionaire,” an entire season of “The Bing Crosby Show” and several episodes of “Room 222,” “Love, American Style,” “That Girl,” “The Fugitive” and “My Three Sons.” He also directed the pilot of “Family Affair.”

His career also included six episodes in the second and third seasons of “The Twilight Zone,” featuring such classics as “I Sing the Body Electric” and “A Penny for Your Thoughts.” He helmed an episode of “Batman” in 1966, featuring Julie Newmar as Catwoman.

The helmer had a unique role in the career of James Dean, who he directed in “Harvest,” a Thanksgiving family drama. Sheldon recommended Dean to star in series “I Remember Mama” after the show’s star Dick Van Patten was set to leave for military service — however, Van Patten was declared unfit for service and stayed with the series.

Among Sheldon’s many other credits are “The Virginian,” “Death Valley Days,” “Armstrong Circle Theatre,” “Wagon Train,” “Zane Grey Theatre,” “Studio 57,” “Naked City,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “Perry Mason,” “The Waltons,” “M*A*S*H*” and “Cagney & Lacey.” He never directed a feature film.

Manhattan native Sheldon, born Leonard James Schleifer, was accepted by the University of North Carolina’s resident theater company, the Carolina Playmakers, after high school.

He would go on to become a page, then tour guide, at NBC in the early ’40s. His first TV job came when he worked for a host of interview series “We, the People.” He then got a regular spot on “Mr. Peepers.”

Sheldon is survived by his two sons, Tony and James Jr., and three grandsons.

More TV

  • Disney-ABC TV Chief on Weinstein's Victims,

    Disney-ABC TV Chief Ben Sherwood on Weinstein's Victims, Shonda Rhimes' Exit

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

  • Bill OReilly Roger Ailes Sexual Harrassment

    Bill O'Reilly, Roger Ailes Still Loom Over Fox's Business (Analysis)

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul Reveals the Queens Competing in 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' Season 3

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

  • Donald Trump

    SAG-AFTRA Supports 'Unencumbered Press' After Trump's License Revocation Threat

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

  • Brent Briscoe Dead: 'Twin Peaks' and

    Brent Briscoe, 'Twin Peaks' and 'Parks and Recreation' Actor, Dies at 56

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

  • 'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at

    'Magnum P.I.' Reboot in Development at CBS From Peter Lenkov With Production Commitment

    TV director James Sheldon, who worked on hundreds of shows including “The Millionaire,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” “Batman” and many more, died March 12. He was 95. His son, Tony, told the New York Times that Sheldon died of complications from cancer at his Manhattan home. Sheldon once estimated that he directed about 1,200 […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content