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Jack Shea. The name sounded so familiar.

The rest of the world probably remembers Shea's contributions to television history through the number of popular shows he directed, but why am I having such a tough time making a connection? There were 110 episodes of The Jeffersons, 15 episodes of Sanford and Son, 91 episodes of Silver Spoons, 3 episodes of the audience-ignored, critically-drubbed, 2 hour, prime time train wreck, The Jerry Lewis Show (1963)...

BINGO! Upon further examination, Shea also had a hand in several Bob Hope specials and he directed the two-part Thanksgiving in Hawaii episode of Sister, Sister. Hang high the purple bunting!


His first job was at NBC as a stage manager on the Goodyear Playhouse (1951). A year later he joined the Air Force. Stationed in Los Angeles, Shea directed military training films that showed our fighting forces the fine art of brushing their teeth, etc.

Shea was one of the driving forces behind the Radio and Television Directors Guild. From 1997 to 2002 he acted as president of the Directors Guild of America. Years later he co-founded the organization, Catholics and Media Associates.

It was Jack Shea who had the father of narrative cinema's name removed from the DGA's award for lifetime achievement. Shea and the Guild, unable to separate the art from the artist and wanting very much to distance their group from the Klansmen depicted in The Birth of a Nation, did the PC thing and renamed the D.W. Griffith Award as the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jack Shea died Sunday in Los Angeles from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 84.

Shea discusses working with Lewis and Hope starting at 21:25:


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