Longtime TV director and producer Stan Harris, a three-time Emmy nominee and DGA Award winner who directed TV specials for Jack Benny, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and John Wayne, among many others, died of natural causes Monday while surrounded by family in Toronto, his son Danny Harris tells Deadline. He was 92.
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Harris’ prolific live music and comedy directing career began at the CBC in Toronto working with peers Norman Jewison, Arthur Hiller and Eric Till. Among the highlights of his career up north were jobs directing Canada’s Hit Parade and a Nat King Cole special, Wild Is Love.
In the early ’60s, he and his family moved to NY, where Harris began his DGA career on series such as The Bing Crosby Show, The Steve Lawrence Show, The Milton Berle Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
In late ’60s , Harris relocated to L.A. for a steady gig directing the massively popular Smothers Brothers show. About that time he also directed the 22nd annual Tony Awards, which helped launch his career in network specials.
Harris went on to direct many dozens of network specials for some of the biggest names in the business, including George Burns, Jack Benny, Johnny Cash, Duke Ellington, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Blondie and John Wayne. In addition, Harris produced and directed The Midnight Special for NBC and dozens of episodes of The Mancini Generation.
He once told son Danny he not only loved his family and career, but that his life “had surpassed his dreams.”
Over the course of his long career, Harris was nominated for three Emmys for outstanding special, comedy, variety or music for The George Burns One-Man Show; directorial achievement in comedy, variety or music for Duke Ellington…We Love You Madly and variety or musical series for That’s Life. He received a DGA Award in 1982.
He is survived by his TV writer wife Fai Harris, whom he married in 1956, daughters Lauren and Jayne and son Danny, all of whom are in the TV business, as well as grandchildren Alexandra, Kate, Samantha, Emma, Andrew and Jeremy and great grandchildren Jonah and Bea.
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