Jack Shea, who built a career directing successful sitcoms after a fluke job opportunity, has died of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 84 years old.
Shea was just 27 when he was pushed into the director’s chair after the man helming the game show “Truth Or Consequences” called in sick; it would be the beginning of a lifelong career move that included direction of shows like “The Jeffersons”, “Silver Spoons”, “Designing Women”, and “Sanford And Son”.
The Emmy-nominated director was adamant in pushing for diversity in hiring practices and was a 3-time president of the Director’s Guild. He and his wife, Patt, also helped form Catholics in Media Associates in order to honor films and television shows which celebrated spiritual values.
“The guild has always tried to do something about [gender and ethnic diversity] … when I joined the guild, the guild was all white, all male. But we now have a wide range of people in this group,” he once said.
“Jack Shea occupied a truly unique position in the history of the modern DGA. As the West Coast president of the Radio & Television Directors Guild in 1960, he was at the table sitting across from Frank Capra when the two guilds representing television and theatrical directors merged to form the modern Directors Guild of America,” said Directors Guild of America President Taylor Hackford in a statement. “Beloved by his fellow directors, the DGA membership and the DGA staff, he always had a ready smile and keen interest in everyone he encountered. Jack enjoyed life and shared it with everyone around him; as a leader, his gentle manner and the kindest of hearts will be the things we miss the most.”
Image: Directors Guild Of America