Jan Eliasberg

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Jan Eliasberg
Jan Pringle Eliasberg

(1954-01-06) January 6, 1954 (age 66)
EducationWesleyan University (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
OccupationDirector, producer and writer
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Neil Friedman (1991–2008)

Jan Pringle Eliasberg (born January 6, 1954)[1] is an American film, theatre, and television director and writer.

Life and career[edit]

Eliasberg is from New York City. She is the daughter of Ann Pringle Harris, an English teacher at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Jay Eliasberg, a retired vice president for research at the Columbia Broadcast Group.[2]

She graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University (at the age of 20 in 1974) and earned a Master's degree at Yale School of Drama (1981).[2][3]

In 1973, she co-founded Second Stage at Wesleyan,[4] an organization of students dedicated to producing theater and other performances, which may be the country's first solely student-run volunteer theater organization.[5][6]

Eliasberg began her television directing career in 1986 directing an episode of Cagney & Lacey. Later that year, she was hand-picked by Michael Mann to direct an episode of Miami Vice, becoming the first of only three female directors of that series. She directed two more Miami Vice episodes in 1987, including "Contempt of Court" starring Stanley Tucci.[citation needed]

She was also the first woman to direct Michael Mann's Crime Story, as well as Wiseguy. Her other television directing credits include multiple episodes of Nashville, The Magicians, Blue Bloods, NCIS;Los Angeles, Parenthood, Criminal Minds, 21 Jump Street, Dawson's Creek, Sisters (also a producer and writer), Early Edition and Party of Five, among many other series.[citation needed]

In early 1988, she was hired to direct the teen comedy How I Got into College, but was replaced after only five days into filming by Savage Steve Holland. Neither Eliasberg nor Fox officially commented on the firing, though one anonymous Fox executive was quoted as stating that Eliasberg's approach was more sophisticated than what the studio wanted, saying, "She was giving us Thirtysomething and we want Laverne & Shirley."[7] In 1991 she got another opportunity to direct a film: Past Midnight was a small-budget film produced by CineTel intended for theaters, but released directly to home video.

She has directed such plays as Spring Awakening, Peer Gynt, Hedda Gabler, The Threepenny Opera, the American premiere of Howard Brenton's Sore Throats and The Importance of Being Earnest.[8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1991, Eliasberg married Neil Alan Friedman, a studio executive at Columbia Pictures.[2] They divorced in 2008. They have a daughter, Sariel Hana Friedman.

Directorial work[edit]



  • Lovers, Partners & Spies (Independent film, 1988)
  • Past Midnight (Feature film, 1991) starring Natasha Richardson, Rutger Hauer, Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti



  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Jan Eliasberg and Neil Friedman Wed, The New York Times, May 27, 1991.
  3. ^ Jan Eliasberg Expands Career From Stage To Film A Director Broadens Her Horizons, latimes.com, January 25, 1985; accessed January 31, 2018.
  4. ^ Guide to the Second Stage Theater Records, 1973 - (ongoing)
  5. ^ "Wesleyan University Second Stage". Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
  6. ^ Wesleyan University (pgs 4-6, and footnotes 5, 6)
  7. ^ Cieply, Michael (March 11, 1988). "A Fired Woman Film Director--New Questions, Issue Continues". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Jan Eliasberg Biography, FilmReference.com; accessed January 31, 2018.

External links[edit]