Fielder Cook, Who Brought Theatre to Television, Dead at 80

Obituaries   Fielder Cook, Who Brought Theatre to Television, Dead at 80
Fielder Cook, the respected television director who brought many of the stage's works and stars to the small screen, died June 20 in Charlotte, NC, the New York Times reported. He was 80.

Along with George Roy Hill, Sidney Lumet and John Frankenheimer, Mr. Cook was one of the most skilled directors to work in New York television during its infancy, when the industry drew frequently on the work of Broadway playwrights and the actors that appeared in the theatre. He worked on "Kraft Television Theatre," "Lux Video Theatre" and "Playhouse 90." These programs typically created, rehearsed and presented a drama live, all within the space of seven days, week after week. In that way, they were more akin to theatre productions than to films.

Mr. Cook worked with theatrical properties throughout his long career. In 1966, he directed a television version of the musical Brigadoon starring Robert Goulet and Sally Ann Howes. Five years later, George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst and David Burns acted in a small screen production of Arthur Miller's The Price helmed by Mr. Cook. That was followed quickly by James Stewart's reprising of his film role of Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase's Harvey. Helen Hayes, Fred Gwynne and Madeline Kahn co-starred.

One of Mr. Cook's final credits was a 1997 TV rendering of the play The Member of the Wedding starring Anna Paquin and Alfre Woodard.

His single Broadway credit was A Cook for Mr. General by Steven Gethers, which starred a very young Dustin Hoffman and ran for 28 performances in 1961.

His most prominent film was the 1956 Rod Serling-penned office drama "Patterns," which starred Van Heflin, Ed Begley, Jr. And Everett Sloane. He is survived by his wife Katherine Belle and two daughters.

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