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Ed Sherin Dies: ‘Law & Order’ Veteran, Broadway Director & Former DGA Officer Was 87

Deadline logo Deadline 5/5/2017 Erik Pedersen
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Ed Sherin, an Emmy winner who executive produced more than 160 Law & Order episodes, directed three dozen and acted in and/or directed more than 20 Broadway shows during his six-decade career, has died. He was 87. Sherin was a DGA member for nearly half a century and was a former National VP. The guild announced his death today but offered no details.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we remember our dear friend and colleague Ed, whose legacy as a director, commitment to our guild and strength and fervor in his service were an example for us all,” said Michael Apted, who was DGA President when Sherin was VP.

Born on January 15, 1930, in Harrisburg, PA, Sherin began acting in TV and theater after serving in the Korean War. His first Broadway role was in the short-lived Measure for Measure (1957) and he later appeared such Main Stem productions as Peer Gynt, Henry IV, Parts I & II and Romulus before landing his first Broadway directing gig with the Pulitzer-winning The Great White Hope (1968), which had begun at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, where he was resident director. He earned a Drama Desk Award for Best Direction of a Play for the show, which starred James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander, whom Sherin married in 1975. He frequently directed her on Broadway; their shows together included 6 Rms Riv Vu, Find Your Way Home – for which he was Tony nominated – and First Monday In October, a drama about the Supreme Court that brought Henry Fonda back to the Broadway stage.

Sherin’s first film helming jobs were on 1971’s Valdez Is Coming and My Old Man’s Place.  

By the mid-1980s, Sherin had returned to TV, helming episodes of such classic series as Moonlighting and L.A. Law before landing on Dick Wolf’s then-new NBC procedural Law & Order. He started out directing for the popular series and by 1994 was an executive producer. He would keep that role for more than 160 episodes until 2000, directing about three dozen along the way, including 32 with his stepson, Jace Alexander and three crossovers with fellow NBC cop drama Homicide: Life on the Street — and sharing seven consecutive Emmy noms for Outstanding Drama Series from 1994-2000. He and the show won it in 1997, along with that year’s PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television.

Sherin also scored two individual Emmy noms for directing L&O. He later helmed episodes of spinoffs Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent in the early 2000s.

“Ed was a vital contributor to the success of Law & Order and served as a mentor to many of the writers, directors, and producers who are still working for the company today,” Wolf said today. “He was a consummate professional and we will ALL miss him.”

Sherin joined the DGA in 1969 and over the years he was active in its leadership. He served on the DGA National Board for 15 years, including three terms as National VP from 1997-2003 and two as Second VP from 2003-2007. He also served on the Eastern Directors Council from 1996-2014 and was a member of the 2008 and 2011 Negotiating Committees as well as the DGA Task Force on Social Responsibility and the Directors Guild Foundation Board of Trustees. He received a pair of career honors from the guild: the 2002 Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award, which recognize extraordinary service to the Directors Guild of America and to its membership, and the 2012 DGA Honorary Life Membership Award.

“We are deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Ed Sherin, whose membership in this Guild spanned more than five decades and whose service was immeasurable,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “Ed loved the guild, and though he was passionate about the East Coast and revitalizing New York production in particular, his tireless advocacy was always on behalf of all our members. Above all, Ed believed deeply that the more unified we were as a guild, and the more we reached out and supported each other, the stronger we would become, and he was absolutely right. We will miss him greatly.”

Added DGA National Executive Director Jay D. Roth: “He attacked problems with commitment and conviction. His leadership and energy not only reinvigorated the New York membership but also inspired many others to become involved in Guild service. … His role as a leader to establish working-in-trade rules for leadership in the 1990s ensured that the guild continues to be led by active working members to this day, creating a lasting legacy of effective and committed service and leadership. And most importantly, Ed was a caring and loyal friend.”

In addition to his wife and stepson, Sherin is survived by three sons, Tony, Geoffrey, and Jon, from a previous marriage.

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