Walter E. Grauman, who directed multiple episodes of “Barnaby Jones” and “Murder, She Wrote” in a career that stretched back to the late 1950s, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 93, dying three days after his birthday.
Grauman also directed the 1964 feature thriller “Lady in a Cage,” starring Olivia de Havilland; the 1965 drama “A Rage to Live,” starring Suzanne Pleshette and Bradford Dillman; the 1966 WWII thriller “I Deal in Danger,” starring Robert Goulet; and the 1970 WWII film “The Last Escape,” starring Stuart Whitman.
In addition to these films, Grauman directed the 1964 WWII film “633 Squadron,” starring Cliff Robertson. George Lucas has said that he patterned the “trench run” sequence that results in the destruction of the Death Star in “Star Wars: Episode IV” on a scene in “633 Squadron.”
Grauman helmed 53 episodes of Angela Lansbury’s “Murder, She Wrote” and 49 episodes of Buddy Ebsen detective series “Barnaby Jones.” But his career also encompassed directing episodes of series ranging from “Peter Gunn,” “Perry Mason,” “The Untouchables,” “The Fugitive” and “The Twilight Zone” through “The Streets of San Francisco” and “Trapper John, M.D.”
Grauman, who was born in Milwaukee and later attended the University of Arizona, was distantly related to Sid Grauman, who built Hollywood’s Chinese and Egyptian movie theaters: His father was Sid Grauman’s first cousin.
During WWII he served for four years in the U.S. Army Air Forces, flying 56 combat missions over Europe in a B-25 and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross.
He began his showbiz career as a stage manager at NBC.
Grauman was the creator and executive producer of the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards, run through the Music Center.
He was also a member of the board of governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Grauman is survived by his wife, Peggy; a daughter and son; and four grandchildren.