Robert Butler, a television director for the pilot shows for Star Trek, Batman, Hill Street Blues, and Moonlighting, has died. He was 95.
Butler’s family announced that the Emmy award-winning director died on Nov. 3 in Los Angeles.
Graduating from UCLA where he majored in English, Butler started his career in entertainment as an usher at CBS. His first credit as a director would come in 1959 when he directed an episode for the military comedy-drama Hennesey which starred Jackie Cooper and Abby Dalton.
Over the years, Butler was sought out to direct pilots for shows like Hogan’s Heroes (1965), the original Star Trek (1966), Batman (1966), the first mini-series on television The Blue Knight (1973), Hill Street Blues (1978), Moonlighting (1985), Sisters (1991) and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993).
Butler won two Emmy Awards, the first one for The Blue Knight pilot in 1973 and the second one in 1981 for Hill Street Blues. In 2015 he was honored by the Directors Guild of America with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction.
Other television shows that Butler directed included The Twilight Zone (1964), The Fugitive (1964), Mister Roberts (1965), The Magical World of Disney (1965), I Spy (1966), The Invaders (1967), Judd, for the Defense (1967), N.Y.P.D. (1967), Gunsmoke (1967), Insight (1967), Cimarron Strip (1968), Mission: Impossible (1969), Lancer (1969), The Waltons (1972), Columbo (1973) and The Division (2001), just to name a few.
Butler also directed films and television films like Disney’s Guns in the Heather (1969), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and The Barefoot Executive (1971). Other credits included the television movie for The Blue Knight (1973), Strange New World (1975), James Dean (1976), Out of Time (1988), White Mile (1994), and Turbulence (1997), just to name a few.