×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hugh Wilson, ‘Police Academy’ Director and ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ Creator, Dies at 74

Hugh Wilson, creator of the CBS comedies “WKRP in Cincinnati” and “Frank’s Place” and writer-director of the first “Police Academy” movie, died Jan. 14 in Charlottesville, Va. He was 74.

Wilson was a writer for the “Bob Newhart Show” and “The Tony Randall Show” and won an Emmy for best comedy writing in 1988 for “Frank’s Place.” He received Emmy nominations for his work on “The Famous Teddy Z” and “WKRP in Cincinnati.” He was twice awarded the Humanitas Prize, given for television and film writing that promotes meaning and human dignity.

Wilson excelled as a creator of ensemble comedies with enduring appeal. “WKRP,” which ran from 1978-1982, revolved around a motley group of characters at a run-down Cincinnati radio station. “Frank’s Place,” which lasted only one season in 1987-88, was set a restaurant in New Orleans. Both shows are often cited among TV’s all-time best comedies.

The 1984 comedy “Police Academy,” starring Steve Guttenberg, became a major hit and spawned six more films in the series.

Among the other movies he directed were “First Wives Club,” starring Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler; “Blast from the Past”; and Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage film “Guarding Tess.” He also directed the 1999 romantic comedy “Dudley Do-Right” with actors Brendan Fraser and Sarah Jessica Parker. Wilson last directed the 2004 sport film “Mickey” starring Harry Connick Jr.

Born in Miami, Wilson graduated from the University of Florida in 1965 with a degree in journalism. He worked in advertising before segueing into TV writing. In 1982, the University of Florida presented Wilson with the Distinguished Alumnus award. He taught TV and screen writing at the University of Virginia.

He is survived by his wife, five children, and four grandchildren.

(Pictured: “Police Academy”)

More Film

  • Woody Allen Developing Next Film With

    Woody Allen Teams with Spain’s Mediapro for Next Film

    MADRID — Woody Allen is re-teaming with Spain’s Mediapro, one of Europe’s biggest independent film-TV companies, to develop his next film with an eye it seems to shooting in Spain. Mediapro co-financed and co-produced two of Allen’s highest-grossing movies, 2008’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which grossed $96.4 million worldwide, and 2011’s “Midnight in Paris” which earned [...]

  • 'Stitches' Review: Berlin Film Festival

    Berlin Film Review: 'Stitches'

    An elegant hybrid of true-story exposé and slow-moving arthouse thriller, Serbian director Miroslav Terzić’s sober sophomore feature “Stitches” takes a familiar idea — a lone crusader taking on a corrupt system in pursuit of the truth — but delivers an unusually thoughtful, psychologically compelling character study. Taking its cue from Snežana Bogdanović’s eerily composed but fathomless [...]

  • Aruna and Her Palate review

    Berlin Film Review: ‘Aruna & Her Palate’

    When mouthwatering Indonesian cuisine and romance are on the table, “Aruna & Her Palate” is a bouncy crowd-pleaser. Less tasty is the backdrop of a suspected bird flu outbreak that brings a food-loving epidemiologist into contact with her secret crush. Adapted from Laksmi Pamuntjak’s 2014 novel “The Bird Woman’s Palate,” “Aruna” manages to overcome its [...]

  • 'Duke' Review: Two Fake Cops Patrol

    Film Review: 'Duke'

    If you can envision “Let’s Be Cops” reconstituted as a noirish psychodrama, you may be adequately prepared for “Duke,” an uneven but arresting indie thriller about two siblings who are driven to heroic extremes by childhood traumas. Co-directed by twin brothers James and Anthony Gaudioso, who also appear in strikingly different supporting roles, the film [...]

  • Greek Director Probes Deeper Issues in

    Greek Director Probes Deeper Issues in Berlin Festival Film 'Sargasso Sea'

    After a sudden suicide turns a small eel-farming town upside down, an investigation unearths troubling secrets about the town’s past. Those discoveries will bring together two women trapped in solitary lives, offering each a chance to find salvation. “The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea” is the third feature by Greek director Syllas Tzoumerkas. Starring frequent [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    France's Cesar Awards Leads the Way for the Oscars

    Since 2011, France’s Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma has steadfastly held its annual awards ceremony the Friday before the Academy Awards. And if launching the Césars two days before the Oscars holds a real, practical benefit — allowing those walking both red carpets time to linger over their last flutes of Champagne before [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content