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James Burrows

James Burrows

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Also Known As: James Edward Burrows, Jim Burrows, James E. Burrows Died:
Born: December 30, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: director, producer, TV series creator, stage manager

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most celebrated directors in television comedy history, James Burrows earned numerous Emmys for his crisp, fast-moving direction on such iconic series as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77), "Taxi" (ABC/NBC, 1978-1983), "Cheers" (NBC, 1982-1993), which he also co-created, and "Will and Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006), among countless others. Burrows brought a quick-witted, theatrical pace to half-hour comedies that elevated them beyond the standard gags and banter to short plays that resonated with audiences beyond their weekly time slot. As a result, he became the go-to guy for both new and established shows to bring an element of style, wit and class to their seasonal lineup. In doing so, Burrows was among the most honored television directors in the medium's history and one of the few television directors average viewers recognized by name.

One of the most celebrated directors in television comedy history, James Burrows earned numerous Emmys for his crisp, fast-moving direction on such iconic series as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-77), "Taxi" (ABC/NBC, 1978-1983), "Cheers" (NBC, 1982-1993), which he also co-created, and "Will and Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006), among countless others. Burrows brought a quick-witted, theatrical pace to half-hour comedies that elevated them beyond the standard gags and banter to short plays that resonated with audiences beyond their weekly time slot. As a result, he became the go-to guy for both new and established shows to bring an element of style, wit and class to their seasonal lineup. In doing so, Burrows was among the most honored television directors in the medium's history and one of the few television directors average viewers recognized by name.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  More Than Friends (1978) Director
2.
  Nerd, The (1996) Director
4.
  Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration (1990) Segment Director ("Cheers")
6.
  Channel 99 (1988) Director
7.
  In the Lion's Den (1987) Director
8.
  Big Shots in America (1985) Director
9.
  P.O.P. (1984) Director
10.
  At Your Service (1984) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Cheers (2001) Interviewee
3.
 Inside TV Land: The Pitch (2001) Interviewee
4.
 Ted Danson: One Lucky Guy (2000) Interviewee
7.
 1991 Emmy Awards (1991)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Spent about five years working as a stage manager for his father, playwright-director Abe Burrows
1967:
First theater job, assistant stage manager on "Holly Golightly", an unsuccessful Broadway production based on Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's", starring Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Chamberlain; first met Moore
:
Served as stage manager on the road company of "Cactus Flower"
:
Served as stage manager on the Broadway production of "Forty Carats"
:
Directed for off-Broadway dinner theater
:
Wrote a congratulatory letter to Moore after she returned to TV in the hit CBS sitcom, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
:
Hired by Grant Tinker, Moore's husband, to direct episodic TV for MTM Television in the mid-1970s
:
Earliest directing assignments, helming episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" beginning with the fifth season
1975:
Directed episodes of the CBS sitcom, "Friends and Lovers"
:
Directed episodes of "Rhoda", a spinoff from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
:
Directed episodes of "Phyllis", an MTM spinoff (dates approximate)
:
Helmed episodes of "The Bob Newhart Show" beginning with the third season
:
Directed 10 episodes of "Laverne and Shirley"
1977:
Directed his first sitcom pilot, "Bumpers", starring Richard Masur; series was not picked up
:
Directed episodes of "The Tony Randall Show"
:
Directed episodes of "Lou Grant", a dramatic MTM spinoff
:
Directed episodes of "The Betty White Show"
:
Debut as a principal director on a series, "Taxi"; assignments included the pilot, three subsequent season openers on ABC and many other episodes; did not remain with the show for its 1982-83 season on NBC
1978:
Helmed episodes of "The Ted Knight Show"
1979:
Helmed episodes of "The Associates", an acclaimed but short-lived ABC sitcom
1982:
Feature directing debut, "Partners", a police comedy-drama starring Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt
:
Co-created, served as executive producer and directed nearly every episode of the hugely successful NBC sitcom, "Cheers"
1986:
Helmed the premiere of "Valerie", starring Valerie Harper (show later renamed "Valerie's Family" and still later "The Hogan Family")
1987:
Executive produced and helmed the premiere episode of "The Tortellis", a short-lived "Cheers" spinoff
1988:
Directed the premiere of the NBC sitcom, "Dear John", starring Judd Hirsch
1990:
Helmed the pilot/premiere episode of the hit NBC sitcom, "Wings" (NBC)
1991:
Directed the pilot outing of the Fox TV sitcom, "Roc" starring Charles Dutton
1993:
Helmed the pilot/premiere installment of "Frasier" (NBC)
1994:
Helmed the pilot/premiere of the popular sitcom "Friends" (NBC)
1995:
Directed the pilot/premiere of the sitcom "NewsRadio" (NBC)
1995:
Directed the pilot/premiere of ABC sitcom "Hudson Street" starring Tony Danza
1995:
Directed the pilot/premiere and several episodes of the NBC sitcom "Caroline in the City"
1995:
Directed the pilot/premiere and several episodes of the Fox sitcom "Partners"
1996:
Directed the premiere episode of "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC) starring Jane Curtin and John Lithgow
1998:
Staged a revival of the play "The Man Who Came to Dinner", starring John Mahoney at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago; production transferred to Barbicon Theatre in London for brief run in July
1998:
Helmed episodes of the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace"; earned Emmy nomination for the pilot; as of 1999-2000 season, became an executive producer
1999:
Directed the pilot of the NBC sitcom "Stark Raving Mad"
2000:
Helmed the pilot for the ABC sitcom "Madigan Men"
2000:
Directed the pilot for the NBC sitcom "The Weber Show/Cursed", starring Steven Weber
2002:
Directed the Dexter Prep pilot
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Oberlin College: Oberlin , Ohio -
School of Drama, Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut -
High School of Music and Art: New York , New York - 1958

Notes

In August 2001, Burrows filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Warner Bros. Television claiming the studio had cheated him out of a share in the syndication revenue of the NBC sitcom "Friends".

Burrows tied the record held by George Schaefer for most nominations by the Directors Guild of America in 1999 when he received his 15th nomination for the pilot of the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace".

In 2000, with his 16th DGA nomination, he became the most nominated director in the Guild's history, and continued that streak the following two year with his 17th and 18th nominations.

As of 2001, he has received 21 Emmy nominations, making him the most nominated director of TV series and movies. Burrows has won five of the awards.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Katherine Burrows. Divorced.
wife:
Debbie Burrows.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Abe Burrows. Playwright, director, librettist. Often collaborated with composer-lyricist Frank Loesser; co-wrote the book for the hit Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls" which won the 1951 Tony for Outstanding Musical; co-wrote and directed the original Broadway production of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"; won 1962 Tonys for Outstanding Musical, Author Musical Play and Outstanding Director of a Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize.
mother:
Ruth Levinson. Married Burrows's father in 1936; divorced in 1948.
sister:
Laurie Burrows Grad. Born in June 1944.
daughter:
Ellie Burrows.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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