Producer Norman Felton dies at 99

Co-created 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E'

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.

More TV

  • American Son review

    'American Son' Set for Netflix Adaptation With Kerry Washington, Original Broadway Cast

    The Broadway play “American Son” is set to be adapted for Netflix. Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Jeremy Jordan, and Eugene Lee will reprise their roles in the Netflix production. Kenny Leon returns to direct and produce, with Jeffrey Richards and Rebecca Gold serving as producers. Washington and Pilar Savone of Washington’s Simpson Street banner will [...]

  • Anthony Scaramucci to participate in the

    Anthony Scaramucci Light on Trump Talk in 'Celebrity Big Brother' Premiere

    CBS reality show “Big Brother” loves to tell its audience to “expect the unexpected,” but things went pretty much according to the assumed with Anthony Scaramucci on the second season premiere of the celebrity edition of the show. Right from his introductory package, Scaramucci had to acknowledge he was fired from the White House, “for [...]


    Tyler Perry: 6 Lessons He Shared at NATPE's 'Living the Dream' Summit

    MIAMI — Tyler Perry took time out of his “Madea’s Farewell” live stage tour and spent his Martin Luther King Jr. holiday giving an inspiring speech to aspiring producers and students gathered here for the annual NATPE convention. Perry was the keynoter Monday at the conference’s first ever “Living the Dream: A Career in Content” session [...]

  • Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics

    Q&A: Why Megan Mullally Won't Talk Politics While Hosting the SAG Awards

    Megan Mullally is funny. The “Will & Grace” star can also sing and dance. While she’s not picking up the Oscar hosting gig after the Kevin Hart fiasco, Mullally will take center stage on Sunday, Jan. 27 when she makes her debut as the host of the 25th annual SAG Awards. Variety caught up with [...]

  • New England Patriots running back Sony

    CBS and Fox Cheer Big Turnout for NFL Conference Championships

    Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games were nail-biters that went into overtime and sent viewership into overdrive. CBS harvested a whopping 53.9 million viewers as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led his team to their third consecutive Super Bowl berth in a hard-fought primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Viewership for the AFC [...]

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Jan. 21, 2019: 'Rent,' 'Celebrity Big Brother'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, “Rent: Live” airs on Fox and “Celebrity Big Brother” returns for a second [...]

  • Black Monday: How Showtime Dusted Off

    'Black Monday': How Showtime Dusted Off An Old '80s Logo For Its New Comedy

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, but you’re not seeing things: That, indeed is Showtime’s old 1980s-era logo pasted all over marketing materials and promos for “Black Monday,” a tongue-in-cheek tale of the excesses exhibited by Wall Street traders in the lead-up to the stock market crash of 1987. The logo, which hasn’t been in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content