Jeffrey Hayden, Theater and TV Director, Dies at 90

Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 .

Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color specials like “Lady in the Dark,” and “The Chocolate Soldier,” before directing his wife, “On the Waterfront” and “North by Northwest” actress Eva Marie Saint, in the CBS series “Omnibus.”

Hayden was selected by producer Fred Coe to join the staff of The Philco Television Playhouse in 1954, and while there he directed live TV dramas with such stars as James Dean, Walter Matthau, and Paul Newman. His work attracted the attention of several film studios including MGM, and he went on to direct the crime drama “The Vintage,” starring Michèle Morgan, Pier Angeli, John Kerr, and Mel Ferrer.

Hayden and Saint performed together in both “Love Letters” and in Willa Cather’s “On the Divide” in theaters across the country.

As well as directing his wife in several award-winning stage works, Hayden’s prolific directing credits also include “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Magnum, P.I.” His most recent work was at the Odyssey Theatre, where he directed “Sunset Baby” in 2015.

Hayden was an original member of the Director’s Guild of America’s first Creative Rights Committee, and was an outspoken advocate for director’s rights throughout his career.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years; daughter Laurette and son Darrell; and four grandchildren.

More Legit

  • A Monster Calls review

    London Theater Review: 'A Monster Calls'

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' Stage Musical in the Works

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

  • The Lehman Trilogy review

    London Theater Review: 'The Lehman Trilogy,' Directed by Sam Mendes

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

  • elizabeth perkins First Time in Variety

    Elizabeth Perkins on Her Early Film, Stage Roles

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

  • 'Mary Page Marlowe' Review: Tatiana Maslany

    Off Broadway Review: 'Mary Page Marlowe'

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Bruce Springsteen Plays First-Ever Encore at Broadway Show (Watch)

    Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 . Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content