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Joseph Sargent

Joseph Sargent



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Also Known As: Joseph Daniel Sargente Died:
Born: July 22, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, USA Profession: Director ... director producer actor


Joseph Sargent began his career in the 1950s as an actor in live TV dramas and second-rate syndicated series, and quickly decided to move behind the cameras. He subsequently became one of the most celebrated TV directors of all time, with sporadic big screen outings.

Sargent's desire to work and not "sit around" developing properties made him a TV producer's dream in the 1960s when he helmed episodes of "The Invaders", "Star Trek", "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and other series. He jumped to the big screen with "The Spy in the Green Hat" (1966), a feature version of TV's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." compiled from episodes of the series. A sequel, "One Spy Too Many" (1966), followed. Sargent's first non-compilation film was "The Hell with Heroes" (1968), about two US Air Force fliers who become enmeshed in a black market ring. He helmed the sci-fi thriller "Colossus: The Forbin Project" (1970). Many of Sargent's features were originally intended for TV but were released theatrically, including the James Earl Jones vehicle "The Man" (1972), a drama about the first Black President of the USA, "Goldengirl" (1979), with Susan Anton as an Olympic hopeful, and "Nightmares" (1983), an uneven anthology film with generally predictable plot twists. Among his other credits are "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1974), an above-average thriller about a hijacking of a NYC subway train, and the biopic "MacArthur" (1977), with Gregory Peck as the general. Sargent's last feature, as of 1996, was "Jaws the Revenge" (1987), the fourth, and most unnecessary, installment in the series about great white sharks.

Sargent's directorial abilities have shone on the small screen. A list of his TV-movies includes some of the most distinguished produced during the past three decades. In 1970, he helmed "Tribes" (ABC), a conflict drama about a Marine drill instructor and a hippie. The next year, Sargent directed Sally Field in one of her first dramatic roles in "Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring" (ABC), about a young woman trying to cope at home after spending several years as a hippie wanderer. "The Marcus-Nelson Murders" (CBS, 1973), based on a real-life murder case, won Sargent the first of his four Emmy Awards and made a star out of Telly Savalas, who played a bald-headed detective named Kojak. Sargent's "Hustling" (ABC, 1975) made Jill Clayburgh a star and looked into the real story behind who makes money off prostitution. The same year he helmed "The Night That Panicked America" (ABC), about Orson Welles' famed 1938 radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds". "Playing for Time" (CBS, 1980) caused controversy when Vanessa Redgrave was cast as Fania Fenelon, the half-Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, but there was generally critical and audience applause for the results. His "Love Is Never Silent" (NBC, 1985), a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" project, broke ground in the public's perception of deaf Americans and culled another Emmy.

Sargent also guided Walter Matthau's TV-movie debut, "The Incident" (CBS, 1990), snared another Emmy for "Caroline?" (1990)which featured Stephanie Zimbalist as a mysterious woman claiming to be the deceased daughter of a wealthy man, and his other eclectic projects included "Day One" (CBS, 1989), about the race to create the atomic bomb and "The Karen Carpenter Story" (CBS, 1989). He again worked for Hallmark with "Miss Rose White" (NBC, 1992), about two Jewish sisters who are reunited in late 1940s New York, and earned his fourth Emmy for his work. He also helmed several high quality miniseries, including "Abraham" (TNT, 1994), "World War II: When Lions Roared" (NBC, 1994), "Larry McMurtry's 'Streets of Laredo'" (CBS, 1995) and "The Salem Witch Trials" (2002). He garnered particular accliam for his sensitive, artful direction of a series of HBO dramas, including "A Lesson Before Dying" (1999), Andy Garcia's pet biopic project "For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story" (2000), the quirky character drama "Something the Lord Made" (2004) and the Frankin Delano Roosevelt biopic "Warm Springs" (2005)--he would receive Emmy nominations for directing the latter two and won the DGA Award for "Something the Lord Made"--as well as helming prestigious Showtime projects such as "Bojangles" (2001), the eponymous biopic of dancer Bill Robinson, and the moving Holocaust telepic "Out of the Ashes" (2003).

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