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Jeffrey Hayden, Theater and TV Director, Dies at 90

Variety logo Variety 1/3/2017 Will Thorne
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Jeffrey Hayden, who directed a wide range of plays, films and TV shows including the first color specials for NBC, died in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2016, after a year of cancer treatment. He was 90 .

Born in 1926, the director began his career at NBC New York, where he directed first color specials like “Lady in the Dark,” and “The Chocolate Soldier,” before directing his wife, “On the Waterfront” and “North by Northwest” actress Eva Marie Saint, in the CBS series “Omnibus.”

Hayden was selected by producer Fred Coe to join the staff of The Philco Television Playhouse in 1954, and while there he directed live TV dramas with such stars as James Dean, Walter Matthau, and Paul Newman. His work attracted the attention of several film studios including MGM, and he went on to direct the crime drama “The Vintage,” starring Michèle Morgan, Pier Angeli, John Kerr, and Mel Ferrer.

Hayden and Saint performed together in both “Love Letters” and in Willa Cather’s “On the Divide” in theaters across the country.

As well as directing his wife in several award-winning stage works, Hayden’s prolific directing credits also include “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Magnum, P.I.” His most recent work was at the Odyssey Theatre, where he directed “Sunset Baby” in 2015.

Hayden was an original member of the Director’s Guild of America’s first Creative Rights Committee, and was an outspoken advocate for director’s rights throughout his career.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years; daughter Laurette and son Darrell; and four grandchildren.

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