You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Director Reza Badiyi dies

Won DGA Award for helming the most TV

Film and television director Reza Badiyi, who helmed hundreds of hours of episodic TV, died Saturday, Aug. 20, of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Badiyi began his American career as a cinematographer, working in New York, Kansas City and finally Los Angeles. He worked with directors including Sam Peckinpah and Robert Altman, who became a mentor and lifelong friend. (Badiyi was a.d. on Altman’s feature film debut, 1957 low-budgeter “The Delinquents.”)

He directed more than 430 episodes of television and several movies beginning in 1963.

By the late 1960s he was regularly directing series television, including multiple episodes of “Get Smart,” “The Doris Day Show,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Mannix,” “Baretta,” “The Rockford Files,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Cagney and Lacey,” “Falcon Crest,” “Jake and the Fatman,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Baywatch.”

” ‘Mission Impossible’ came about at a time where we were using images differently than before,” Badiyi told Iran Times Intl. in 2009. “We would use extreme focusing and closeups in order to accurately convey to the audience the actors’ feelings, thoughts and actions. It was also a time of breakthrough visual effects, so I had the opportunity to do things I hadn’t done before; it was great. I let my imagination run wild.”

More recently he helmed episodes of “La Femme Nikita” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

He was also credited with the title visualization for “Get Smart,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Hawaii Five-O,” among several other series. It was Badiyi who devised the notion of having Moore toss her tam o’shanter into the air for the famous opening sequence of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Badiyi also directed more than 60 documentaries.

In 2006 he directed the family drama “The Way Back Home,” with Julie Harris and Ruby Dee.

His last screen credit was as technical adviser on the 2008 film “Lady of the Roses,” directed by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb.

An article from the April/May 1998 issue of the DGA magazine, called “Reza Badiyi: 400 Episodic Hours and Counting,” called Badiyi “one of the most prolific directors of episodic series television in the history of the medium.” The article went on to call his “landmark 400th hour” “yet another career milestone.”

Born in Arak, Iran, Reza Sayed Badiyi graduated from the Academy of Drama in Iran and received the prestigious golden medal of art from the Shah of Iran. In 1955 he was invited by the U.S. government to pursue a film career and subsequently graduated from Syracuse U. in Audiovisual Studies.

In 2010 the Iranian-American community and actors from some of the shows Badiyi directed honored him on his 80th birthday at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Badiyi was married three times, the second time to actress, writer and producer Barbara Turner. Survivors include his third wife, actress Tania Harley; three children, including actress Mina Badie; a stepdaughter, actress Jennifer Jason Leigh; two brothers and four sisters; and two grandchildren.

More TV

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Puts Former Sessions Aide in Newsroom Role

    Sarah Isgur Flores, a press aide to former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been hired to help coordinate political coverage for CNN, a move that generated some pushback on social media Tuesday. Politico previously reported the CNN hire. Flores in the past has criticized CNN coverage. She will be just the latest political operative [...]

  • Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'WKRP In

    Gerald Blum, Inspiration for 'Big Guy' Carlson on 'WKRP in Cincinnati,' Dies at 86

    Gerald “Jerry” Blum, the inspiration for the character of radio station general manager Art “Big Guy” Carlson on the long-running TV sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died Saturday at 86. The Atlanta radio veteran was affectionately transformed into the fictional Carlson by veteran comic actor Gordon Jump on “WKRP,” which ran for four seasons on CBS [...]

  • Arrested Development Season 5 review

    TV News Roundup: 'Arrested Development' Sets Season 5 Return Date at Netflix

    In today’s TV news roundup, the second half of “Arrested Development” season five gets a release date and Netflix announces the voice cast for “Green Eggs and Ham.” CASTING Netflix has announced the ensemble voice cast for the upcoming “Green Eggs and Ham” series executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres and based on the Dr. Seuss book. [...]

  • LA Rams running back Todd Gurley

    Live+7 Ratings for Week of Jan. 28: Super Bowl LIII Clobbers Competition

    In a shock to no one, the 2019 Super Bowl handily defeated all of its broadcast competition in the Live+7 numbers for the week of Jan. 28. Live sports typically receive virtually no lift in delayed viewing, and Super Bowl LIII was no exception. The game did, however, rise from a 31.1 rating in adults [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content