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TV director Jud Taylor dies at 76

NYC native once served as president of DGA

Jud Taylor, who helmed more than 40 made-for-TV movies and served as president of the Directors Guild of America 1981-1983, died Wednesday in New York City after a long illness. He was 76.

NYC native and UC Berkeley grad won the DGA’s outstanding directorial achievement kudo for his “Foxfire” (1987), and he received an Emmy nom for his direction of “Tail Gunner Joe” (1977).

Among Taylor’s many other telepics are “Clover” (1997), “The Old Man and the Sea” (1990), “Out of the Darkness” (1985), “A Question of Honor” (1982) and “Flesh & Blood” (1979).

He also directed numerous television series including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Fugitive” and several episodes of “Star Trek.”

In 2003, Taylor received the Robert B. Aldrich Award for Extraordinary Service to the guild. He had previously served as DGA vice president, 1977-1981, spearheading a study of the DGA Pension and Health plans, which led to significant improvements, per the DGA.

In 1981, he chaired the DGA’s Negotiating Committee, which the DGA said resulted in a contract that provided improved economic and creative rights as well as affirmative-action provisions for women and ethnic minorities.

In 1973 he participated in contract negotiations as a member of the Creative Rights Committee. He served as an alternate on the DGA national board 1975-77 and as a member of the board 1977-83.

In an issued statement, DGA prexy Michael Apted observed: “As a leader in the guild, Jud Taylor embraced some of the most forward-thinking political and economic issues of the day — whether he was heading a negotiating team, improving the DGA pension and health plans or leading a creative rights discussion.

“Jud’s presidency was also significant for the advances he made in affirmative action provisions for women and minorities.”

Apted also noted that Taylor’s Aldrich Award happened to be named after the director who launched Taylor’s earlier career as an actor.

Taylor is survived by his wife, casting director Lynn Kressel; two daughters; a granddaughter; and a sister.

Funeral services are 3 p.m. Friday at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 West 76th St, New York.  

Family requests contributions be made in his memory to the Directors Guild of America Foundation, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Suite 401, Los Angeles, CA 90046.

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