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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. director Joseph Sargent

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. director Joseph Sargent

As confirmed by Variety, Emmy-winning director Joseph Sargent died from complications related to heart disease. He was 89.


Sargent fought in World War II as a teenager, but he began studying acting after returning to the United States. He picked up a sizable list of minor roles in front of the camera in the ‘50s, and by the mid-’60s he was working primarily as a TV director. Over the next few years, Sargent directed episodes of some of the biggest shows of the decade, including Lassie, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Star Trek. In 1973, he won his first Emmy for directing the pilot episode of Kojak.

Sargent’s most famous directing job, however, happens to be one of the few times he worked in the movies instead of on TV: 1974’s The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three. An obvious influence on plenty of modern thrillers—not to mention its multiple remakes—Pelham is widely recognized as one of a rare class of films that feels uniquely of its era but still holds up today. After that, Sargent almost exclusively directed TV movies, finally wrapping up his long career in 2008 with the Jeff Daniels-starring deafness drama Sweet Nothing In My Ear.

In addition to the Emmy he won for Kojak, Sargent won three other Emmys and four Directors Guild Of America awards. Paris Barclay, president of the DGA, said that Sargent’s “dominance and craftsmanship was legendary,” adding that he “embodied directorial excellence on the small screen.”