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Judson Taylor (25 February 19326 August 2008; age 76), often credited as Jud Taylor, was American actor turned Emmy Award-nominated television director and producer. He is also a former president and vice president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA). He directed five episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series during the show's third season: "The Paradise Syndrome", "Wink of an Eye", "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", "The Mark of Gideon", and "The Cloud Minders". He also directed the bridge scenes for "Whom Gods Destroy".

Early life and acting career

Taylor was born in New York City and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career in show business as an actor, making his debut as radioman Private Abramowitz in the 1956 war film Attack, which co-starred William Smithers. Perhaps his most notable film role was that of Allied POW Goff in the World War II classic The Great Escape. Another actor who appeared in this film was Lawrence Montaigne, who appeared in two episodes of the original Star Trek.

During the 1961-62 television season, Taylor was a series regular on the NBC medical drama Dr. Kildare, portraying Dr. Thomas Gerson. He then made numerous appearances on Paramount Television's action drama series The Fugitive, including an episode directed by Ralph Senensky. He has also appeared in multiple episodes of the television drama series 12 O'Clock High, starring Robert Lansing. Other Star Trek actors he worked with on this show included Paul Carr, Frank Overton, Andrew Prine, Bert Remsen, and Jason Wingreen.

Directing career

Episodic television

Taylor turned to directing in 1965, starting with an episode of Dr. Kildare for which he cast Terri Garr. He then directed a second episode of the series, this time casting James Daly as a guest star, after which he cast Lawrence Montaigne for an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Between late 1965 and early 1966, he directed multiple episodes of the western series The Man from Shenandoah. Among the actors he worked with on this show were Hal Baylor, Warren Stevens, Michael Witney, and TOS regular DeForest Kelley.

Before working with her in the Star Trek episode "The Paradise Syndrome," Taylor cast Miramanee actress Sabrina Scharf in an episode of The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. with Arnold Moss. Taylor also directed Lou Antonio in a 1966 episode of The Fugitive before working with Antonio again on the TOS episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

Five years after working together in the TOS episode "The Cloud Minders," Taylor and actor Jeff Corey collaborated again on a 1974 episode of the mystery series Hawkins. Taylor directed several other episodes of this show, working with such performers as Antoinette Bower, David Huddleston, Kenneth Mars, Warren Stevens, and William Windom.

Taylor also directed several episodes of NBC's drama series Then Came Bronson. Some of the performers he worked with on this series were Walker Edmiston, Rex Holman, and the aforementioned David Huddleston. Other TV shows for which Taylor has directed include Shane (working with Sam Gilman, Jill Ireland, and Jason Wingreen), Felony Squad (with Paul Carr), The Second Hundred Years (with Monte Markham), Judd for the Defense (with Jonathan Lippe and William Wintersole), Love, American Style (one segment with Henry Gibson, another with Jane Wyatt), The Interns (with John McLiam), The Rookies (with David Huddleston and Kenneth Tobey), and Lou Grant (with Clyde Kusatsu and Noble Willingham).

Between 1977 and 1997, Taylor focused entirely on directing made-for-TV movies. He returned to episodic television late in 1999 to direct the first of five episodes of the NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He retired from directing entirely following his work on the 2004 episode "Lowdown."

TV movies

Taylor directed over forty made-for-television movies between 1968 and 1997. His first was the CBS drama Fade-In (which featured an appearance by Ricardo Montalban), although he chose to be credited under the infamous pseudonym "Alan Smithee". He was one of the first directors to use that credit. The first TV movie he directed credited with his own name was 1970's Weekend of Terror, which starred Jane Wyatt and Gregory Sierra.

He also directed Eugene Roche in the TV movies Egan (which co-starred John Anderson and Glenn Corbett) and Winter Kill (with Lawrence Pressman). Other TV movies directed by Taylor during the 1970s included The Rookies (1972; featuring Logan Ramsey), Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972, with Richard Carlyle), The Disappearance of Flight 412 (1974, starring David Soul), Search for the Gods (1975, starring Stephen McHattie), Mary White (1977, starring Fionnula Flanagan), and Lovey: A Circle of Children, Part II (1979, starring Ronny Cox).

Taylor was nominated for the 1977 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy for the 1977 NBC movie Tail Gunner Joe, whose cast included John Anderson, Charles Macaulay, Allan Miller, Dallas Mitchell, Alan Oppenheimer, Bill Quinn, William Schallert, Robert Symonds, and the aforementioned Andrew Prine. That same year, Taylor again directed Prine, as well as Barbara Babcock, on another NBC movie, Christmas Miracle in Caufield, U.S.A.

In addition, Taylor both produced and directed the 1976 TV movie Return to Earth (which featured Davis Roberts and George D. Wallace). He was also director and executive producer of 1976's Woman of the Year (whose cast included John Fiedler) and 1981's Incident at Crestridge (which starred Bruce Davison).

Taylor's TV movie directorial credits during the 1980s included City in Fear (1980, starring William Daniels and Allan Miller), Act of Love (1980, starring Robert Foxworth), A Question of Honor (1982, starring Paul Sorvino and Anthony Zerbe), Doubletake (1985, featuring Corbin Bernsen, Michael Bofshever, Jude Ciccolella, Mark Margolis, and Concetta Tomei), and Out of the Darkness (1985, also with Jude Ciccolella). He then won the 1987 Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Foxfire.

During the 1990s, Taylor directed such TV movies as Murder Times Seven (1990, featuring Andreas Katsulas), Danielle Steel's Kaleidoscope (1990, starring Terry O'Quinn), Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story (1993, with Robert Pine), and Secrets (1995, starring Richard Kiley). He also directed the 1992 movie Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, which served as the pilot for the subsequent series of the same name. In 1995, he produced as well as directed the CBS movie A Holiday to Remember, which featured Don McManus. His last TV movie was the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation Clover, which featured Ron Canada in the cast.

Career achievements

In 1973 Taylor participated in contract negotiations as a member of the Creative Rights Committee. From 1975 through 1977, he served as an alternate on the national board of the Directors Guild of America (DGA). In the latter year, he was named Vice President of DGA. During his four-year term, he spearheaded a study which significantly improved the DGA's Pension and Health plans.

Taylor served as President of DGA from 1981 through 1983. He is credited with advancing affirmative action provisions for women and minorities during his presidency. He also improved economic and creative rights for artists as chairman of DGA's Negotiating Committee.

In 2003, the DGA awarded Taylor with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award. Incidentally, the award was named after the same director who gave Taylor his start in show business; Robert Aldrich directed the film Attack, which launched Taylor's brief acting career, which in turn led to nearly four decades of work as a director.


Taylor died in New York City following a long illness at the age of 76. He was survived by his wife, casting director Lynn Kressel, and their two daughters, as well as a granddaughter and a sister. [1](X)

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