TV Sitcom Actors who Direct

Josh Radnor or “Ted” from How I Met Your Mother,  just recently released his second film “Liberal Arts.”  Josh not only was the author of the screenplay , he had double duty as star and director. Always inquisitive, we decided to find out which sitcom stars have taken their turn in the directors chair. Some of them may just surprise you.

The biggest name of tv stars who direct has to be this guy. Literally growing up on television, Ron Howard has made quite a name for himself.He has become an icon as a movie director winning an Academy Award.  We actually had the honor of being directed by Ron and he was so generous and fun to work with.

 The consummate show professional is Alan Alda. Alan has wore many hats in his career including  director, executive producer, and writer on M*A*S* H* .  One of Alan’s scripts won an Emmy Award.

Television legend, Larry Hagman first learned to direct on the set of his classic sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie”  . He took that knowledge on to the set of “Dallas” to be not only a director , but executive producer as well.  He also taught his television wife , Linda Gray to direct as well.

It must run in the family, Patrick Duffy aka Bobby directed “Dallas” as well.  Also included on the Dallas roster were actors Ken Kercheval and Steve Kanaly. Patrick later appeared on the sitcom “Step by Step”

Show business is in Penny Marshall’s blood. Her brother , Garry was one of the biggest producers in the seventies.  He actually cast his sis in the role she would be most known for,”Laverne DeFazio” on “Laverne and Shirley” . She made her name as a director in the movie “A League of Their Own” with Madonna and Geena Davis.

 Northwestern has had its share of directors .  But grad, Zach Braff made a name for himself not only as a director on “Scrubs”, but also for writing, directing , and starring in such critically acclaimed films as “Garden State”

 Being a director means taking charge. As ER’s Dr Kerry Weaver, NW grad Laura Innes ruled the er with an iron fist. Laura first got her sitcom break as “Bunny” on “Wings”  . She took what she learned to direct not only “ER” but also “The West Wing’ and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

Chicago has its own contribution to the directing scene. Long before he was ever seen on “Friends” David Schwimmer was one of the founders directing shows for the Tony award winning Lookingglass Theatre.  David went on to be a student of the great James Burrows and directed a total of ten episodes of his own  series. He followed this up with directing his former cast mate in two episodes of the series “Joey.” David now concentrates on directing and has directed three films. He is also slated to direct a production at Lookingglass this year.

Other “Friends” cast members have directed as well. “Go On’s” Matthew Perry directed his own father on an episode of “Scrubs.”  He also created and starred in his own series “Mr Sunshine.”  Maybe Perry will get a chance to direct on “Go On” as well.

Our “Monica” is such a take charge girl. Well so is Courteney , she has directed a movie for Lifetime and also an episode of TBS “Cougartown”.

 America’s sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston is another “Friend” who recently got to direct a movie for Lifetime as well.

 “Royal Pains” Paolo Costanzo started on the sitcom “Joey”   Now he stars on the USA hit now in season four .  Paolo recently directed the show.

 “Kevin” grew up and now he is one of the most acclaimed sitcom directors around.  Fred Savage , who grew up before our eyes on “The Wonder Years.” directs mostly television shows now.

Amanda Bears got to boss her neighbors around as a regular director on her show , “Married with Children.”  “Marcy ” gets her revenge on “Al”.

 Roseanne directed one episode of “Roseanne.”

“Boss” star, Kelsey Grammer, directed several episodes of “Frasier.”

John Ratzenberger jumped down from his stool and directed an episode of “Cheers.”

Kadeem Hardison aka “Dwayne Wayne” on “Different World” also directed his own show.

 Kevin Connolly directed the boys in an episode of “Entourage.”

Kim Fields directed her girls on “Living Single”

“Theo” got a chance to boss around the Master.  Malcolm Jamal Warner directed several episodes of “The Cosby Show.”

 As a tv icon, Rob Reiner became known for directing feature films. Some of these films are classics like “Stand by Me” A Few Good Men” and “When Harry Met Sally.”  Reiner’s class act comes from his father , comedy legend , Carl Reiner.

Mike Farrell played BJ Hunnicutt on M*A*S*H* and also directed.

 As well as cast mate Harry Morgan. and other cast mate David Ogden Stiers.  An interesting fact about M*A*S*H* is that the late McLean Stevenson wrote two scripts while he was on the show.

 On the hilarious hit “Night Court.”  Three actors took turns directing, Harry Anderson (Judge Stone,) Charlie Robinson (Mac) and Emmy award winner John Larroquette . (Dan)

 Jason Alexander directed a few eps of “Seinfeld”

Craig T. Nelson also directed on his own series “Coach”  

From the soaps to sitcoms, Dorothy Lyman has done it all. She directed many episodes of her dear friend , Fran Drescher’s series . “The Nanny.”

Another star that has taken her turn is “Happily Divorced’ star Fran Drescher who directed her castmates in “The Nanny.”

Frank Bonner was a star on the seventies classic “WKRP in Cincinnati” playing sales manager Herb Tarlek. Bonner directed several episodes of the classic and also the show “Just the Ten of Us.”

Ted Wass got his own starring role on the groundbreaking “SOAP” from there he became Blossom’s dad in the NBC series “Blossom”  Now he is one of the most in demand directors on television.

 And we end our salute with the consummate professional . A veteran of dramas and sitcoms . The winner of the Oscar and many other achievements. Producer, director, writer, and star , George Clooney.

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About chitownstarconnections

Melanie Christy is am actress/singer who came to Chicago to pursue her dreams of acting. Coming from a small town in Ohio she has been enjoying the things that city life has to offer like great cuisine from all parts of the globe, parties with great people including celebrities, gorgeous fashions and of course fun! Follow her, read her blog and learn about all the amazing adventures you can be a part of throughout Chicagoland! Jennifer Hedrick is the photographer and techie for our blogs. She was born and raised here in Chicago. Her love of photography started when she was a child. She has photographed many celebs, events, fashion shows and more. She also considers herself a bit of a foodie and loves food porn. Her other loves include her nieces and nephews, animals and the shows Castle, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.
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2 Responses to TV Sitcom Actors who Direct

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