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Michael O'Herlihy (1 April 192916 June 1997; age 68) was an Emmy-nominated Irish television director whose career spanned thirty years. In 1966, he directed the Star Trek: The Original Series first season episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday". The production staff was well-satisfied by O'Herlihy's work, who helmed the episode well and on schedule, and invited him back to direct "The Paradise Syndrome" and "And the Children Shall Lead" in the third season. However, the director had already signed on for a feature film, Smith!, and had to turn the offer down. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three)

O'Herlihy received an Emmy nomination for directing the 1979 mini-series Backstairs at the White House. Among the actor he directed on this series were Star Trek alumni Ian Abercrombie, John Anderson, Bibi Besch, Robert Hooks, Bill Quinn, Noble Willingham, and Paul Winfield.

O'Herlihy's many other directorial credits include episodes of such programs as Maverick, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible (three episodes, including one with Lee Bergere and John Crawford, and another with William Smithers), Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Mannix (three episodes, including one with Walter Koenig), The A-Team (starring Dwight Schultz), Miami Vice, and The Equalizer (starring Robert Lansing and Keith Szarabajka). His credits also include a number of made-for-TV movies, including Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (1977) with John Anderson and Bibi Besch, Desperate Voyage (1980) starring Christopher Plummer and Jonathan Banks, and A Time for Miracles (also 1980) starring Kate Mulgrew and George Murdock.

Although the majority of his credits were in television, O'Herlihy also directed a few feature films for Disney. These include The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966), Mosby's Marauders (1967, with Michael Forest), and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).

O'Herlihy was the uncle of actor Gavan O'Herlihy, who appeared in the Star Trek: Voyager first season episode "Caretaker", and the younger brother of the Oscar-nominated actor Dan O'Herlihy. Five years after his death in 1997, O'Herlihy's last name was used as the name of the astronauts of the first Earth-Saturn probe on a mission patch seen in the Star Trek: Enterprise second season episode "First Flight". This was an homage to the director of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", the episode in which the Earth-Saturn mission was mentioned. Episode writer D.C. Fontana received the same honor.

Further reading[]

  • "Michael O'Herlihy, Storyteller of Tomorrow and Yesterday", Edward Gross, Starlog, issue 131, June 1988, pp. 62-63, 72

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