|Born||William Theodore Kotcheff
April 7, 1931
|Spouse(s)||Laifun Chung (?–present; 2 children)
Sylvia Kay (1960–1972; divorced; 3 children)
Ted Kotcheff (born April 7, 1931), sometimes credited as William Kotcheff or William T. Kotcheff, is a Canadian film and television director, who is well known for his work on several high-profile British television productions and as a director of films such as the Australian classic Wake in Fright and such Hollywood successes as First Blood, Uncommon Valor, Weekend at Bernie's and North Dallas Forty.
Kotcheff was born William Theodore Kotcheff in Toronto of Bulgarian descent, the son of immigrants from the region of Macedonia. After graduating in English Literature from University College, University of Toronto, Kotcheff began his television career at the age of twenty-four when he joined the staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with television still very much in its infancy in the country. Kotcheff was the youngest director on the staff of the CBC, where he worked for two years on shows such as General Motors Theatre before in 1958 leaving Canada to live and work in the United Kingdom.
He was inspired by his compatriot Sydney Newman, who had been the Director of Drama at the CBC and had moved to the U.K. to take up a similar position at ABC Television, one of the local franchise holders of the ITV network who also produced much of the nationally networked programming for the channel. At ABC, Newman as producer of the popular Armchair Theatre anthology drama programme, employed Kotcheff as a director of this series between 1958 and 1960.
Kotcheff was responsible for directing some of the best-remembered installments in the Armchair Theatre anthology series from 1958 to 1964. During Underground, transmitted live on 30 November 1958, Kotcheff was required to cope with one of the actors suddenly dying while between two of his scenes. More successfully, Kotcheff also directed the following year's No Trams to Lime Street by Welsh playwright Alun Owen.
Kotcheff also worked in the theatre, and in 1962 made his first feature film, Tiara Tahiti. He went on to direct other features during the decade, including Life at the Top (1965) and Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969).
In 1971, he directed the classic Australian film Wake in Fright (originally released in the USA in 1971 as "Outback", but re-released in 2012 with its original title). It won much critical acclaim in Europe, and was Australia's entry at the Cannes Film Festival. (In 2009, Wake in Fright was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray disc in a fully restored version.) Also in 1971, Kotcheff returned to television, directing the Play for Today production Edna, the Inebriate Woman for the BBC, which won him a British Academy Television Award for Best Director. In 2000, the play was voted one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century in a poll of industry professionals conducted by the British Film Institute.
In 1972, he returned home to Canada, where he directed several films including adaptations of his friend and one-time housemate Mordecai Richler's novels The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Joshua Then and Now. The former film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival making it the first Canadian film to win an international award. He directed many other films throughout the 1970s and 80s, most in the United States, with perhaps the best-known being the Sylvester Stallone feature First Blood in 1982. They would range from comedies (Fun with Dick and Jane) to dramas (Winter People).
Kotcheff now lives in Beverly Hills with his wife Laifun and two children Alexandra and Thomas. He has three children from a previous marriage to the actress Sylvia Kay: Aaron, Katrina and Joshua.
Given his Macedonian heritage, Kotcheff serves on the Board of Directors of the Macedonian Arts Council.
- Director (Film)
- Tiara Tahiti (1962)
- Life at the Top (1965)
- Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969)
- Wake in Fright (1971)
- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974, The Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival)
- Billy Two Hats (1974)
- Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)
- Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978)
- North Dallas Forty (1979)
- Split Image (1982)
- First Blood (1982)
- Uncommon Valor (1983)
- Joshua Then and Now (1985)
- Switching Channels (1988)
- Weekend at Bernie's (1989)
- Winter People (1989)
- Folks! (1992)
- The Shooter (1995)
- Borrowed Hearts (1997)
- Director (Television)
- Underground (1958)
- No Trams to Lime Street (1959)
- After the Funeral (1960)
- Lena, O My Lena (1960)
- The Human Voice (1967)
- Edna, the Inebriate Woman (1971)
- What Are Families for? (1993)
- Red Shoe Diaries 3: Another Woman's Lipstick (1993)
- Love on the Run (1994)
- A Family of Cops (1995)
- Red Shoe Diaries 5: Weekend Pass (1995)
- A Husband, a Wife and a Lover (1996)
- Buddy Faro (1998)
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)
- Crime in Connecticut: The Story of Alex Kelly (1999)
- From Da to Yes: understanding, Intercultural Press, 1995, ISBN 1-877864-30-7, p. 178.
- Voices of film experience: 1894 to the present, Jay Leyda, Macmillan, 1977, p. 244.
- The New York Times Encyclopedia of Film, Gene Brown, New York Times Staff, Harry M. Geduld, Times Books, 1984, ISBN 0-8129-1059-1.
- Hartl, John (October 25, 2012). "'Wake in Fright': Restored outback drama hasn't lost chilling effect". The Seattle Times.
- "Berlinale 1974: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-07-02.