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Rod Amateau

Rod Amateau

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Also Known As: Rodney Amateau, Rodney Amateau Died:
Born: December 20, 1923 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, dialogue director, radio writer, second unit director, stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After starting his career as a writer for CBS radio, Rod Amateau worked his way up the 20th Century Fox ladder from junior writer to test director to second-unit director to dialogue director before finally making his feature directorial debut with "The Bushwackers" (1952), a Western of interest mostly for the sermonizing in his (and Tom Gries') script, which offered parallels to the political climate in America during the post-Civil War and post-World War II eras. Though he directed another film that year ("Monsoon"), he would not return to features for 17 years, carving out instead a substantial career as a producer-director-writer of TV series, beginning with "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (CBS, 1950-58).Despite backing a few duds (i.e., "The Charlie Farrell Show", CBS 1956; "Peter Loves Mary", CBS 1960-61), Amateau boasted an impressive track record during the 1950s and 60s with his high-profile involvement in hits like "Private Secretary" (CBS, 1953-57), "Dobie Gillis" (CBS, 1959-63), "Mr. Ed" (syndicated 1960-61; CBS, 1961-66) and "The Patty Duke Show" (ABC, 1963-66), not to mention directing the pilot episode of "Gilligan's Island" for CBS in 1964. He was a dominant force behind the...

After starting his career as a writer for CBS radio, Rod Amateau worked his way up the 20th Century Fox ladder from junior writer to test director to second-unit director to dialogue director before finally making his feature directorial debut with "The Bushwackers" (1952), a Western of interest mostly for the sermonizing in his (and Tom Gries') script, which offered parallels to the political climate in America during the post-Civil War and post-World War II eras. Though he directed another film that year ("Monsoon"), he would not return to features for 17 years, carving out instead a substantial career as a producer-director-writer of TV series, beginning with "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (CBS, 1950-58).

Despite backing a few duds (i.e., "The Charlie Farrell Show", CBS 1956; "Peter Loves Mary", CBS 1960-61), Amateau boasted an impressive track record during the 1950s and 60s with his high-profile involvement in hits like "Private Secretary" (CBS, 1953-57), "Dobie Gillis" (CBS, 1959-63), "Mr. Ed" (syndicated 1960-61; CBS, 1961-66) and "The Patty Duke Show" (ABC, 1963-66), not to mention directing the pilot episode of "Gilligan's Island" for CBS in 1964. He was a dominant force behind the short-lived "My Mother the Car" (NBC, 1965-66) and the even shorter-lived "O.K. Crackerby" (ABC, 1965-66) and directed a couple of unsuccessful pilots ("Where There's Smokey", CBS 1966, starring Soupy Sales; "Weekend", NBC 1967) before returning to features.

Amateau's sitcom success did not translate to the big screen comedies he wrote and/or directed ("Hook, Line and Sinker" 1969; "The Statue" 1970; "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You" 1971; and "Where Does It Hurt?" 1972). Ironically, his most successful films were two thrillers, "The Wilby Conspiracy" (1975, which he co-adapted and directed the action sequences) and Sam Peckinpah's "The Osterman Weekend" (1983, on which he served as second unit director). He scored one more big TV hit as a supervising producer and director of "The Dukes of Hazzard" (CBS, 1979-1985) and also wrote episodes for "The Fall Guy" (ABC, 1981-86), but clearly his batting average was slipping as his subsequent string of unsold pilots attests. Amateau produced, helmed and co-scripted the disappointing "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie" (1987), his last directorial credit to date.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Lovelines (1984) Director
3.
  High School U.S.A. (1983) Director
4.
  Uncommon Valor (1983) Director
5.
  Osterman Weekend, The (1983) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit)
6.
7.
  Seniors, The (1978) Director
8.
  Drive-In (1976) Director
9.
  The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit) (Action Sequences)
10.
  Where Does It Hurt? (1972) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Las Vegas (1996) Interviewee
2.
 Highway Honeys (1983) Sweeper Operator (Guest)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career as staff writer for CBS radio
:
Became stage manager for "Lux Radio Theatre"
1941:
Served in US Army
:
Worked for 20th Century-Fox as junior writer, then test director, then 2nd unit director
1950:
Produced TV series, "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (CBS); also directed episodes
1951:
Served as dialogue director for the film noir, "Cry Danger"
1952:
Directed first feature, "The Bushwhackers"; also co-scripted
:
Helmed episodes of "Private Secretary" (CBS), starring Ann Sothern
:
Produced the NBC variety series "The George Burns Show"
:
Directed and wrote episodes of "Dobie Gillis" (CBS)
:
Helmed episodes of "Mr. Ed" (syndicated 1960-1961; CBS 1961-1966)
:
Directed episodes of the ABC sitcom "The Patty Duke Show"
1964:
Directed the pilot episode of "Gilligan's Island" (CBS)
:
Served as producer and director for NBC series "My Mother the Car", starring Jerry Van Dyke
1969:
Wrote screenplay for George Marshall's "Hook, Line & Sinker", starring Jerry Lewis
1970:
Returned to feature directing with "The Statue", starring David Niven
1971:
Wrote and directed "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You"
1972:
Produced, directed and co-wrote (with Budd Robinson) "Where Does It Hurt?", adapted from his and Robinson's novel "The Operator"; also starred Niven
1975:
Co-adapted and served as second unit director (action sequences) for Ralph Nelson's "The Wilby Conspiracy", a political thriller set in South Africa starring Sidney Poitier
:
Served as a supervising producer (with Hy Averback) for "The Dukes of Hazzard" (CBS); also directed episodes of the series
1979:
Produced and directed episodes of "Supertrain" (NBC), an expensive bust of a series
:
Was supervising producer (and director) for "Enos" (CBS), a spin-off from "The Dukes of Hazzard"
:
Contributed scripts for the ABC series "The Fall Guy"
1983:
Handled second unit director duties on "The Osterman Weekend", directed by Sam Peckinpah
1987:
Produced, directed and co-wrote "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie"
1988:
Wrote the story, "The Adventures of Tom Mix and Wyatt Earp in Holywood", on which Blake Edwards based his screenplay for "Sunset"
1989:
Last credit (to date) as producer on the NBC TV-movie "Swimsuit"
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Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Colleen Gray. Actor. Married on August 10, 1945; divorced on February 11, 1949.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Susan Amateau. Born c. 1946; mother, Collen Gray.

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