Robert Butler (director)

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Robert Butler
Born (1927-11-16) November 16, 1927 (age 95)
Occupation(s)Film and television director

Robert Butler (born November 16, 1927) is an American film[1] and Emmy Award-winning television director. He is best known for his work in television, where he directed the pilots for a number of series including Star Trek, Hogan's Heroes, Batman and Hill Street Blues.[2]


Butler graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he majored in English. He was first in an army band, before his career as a stage manager and an assistant before launching his directing career with an episode of Hennesey (starring Jackie Cooper and including a young Ron Howard)[2] and then went on to direct such shows as The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Batman, The Fugitive and The Twilight Zone.

Butler shot pilots for many TV series including the original Star Trek, Shane, Hogan's Heroes, Batman, The Blue Knight, Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele (a show which he also co-created), Moonlighting, Sisters, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Butler has also directed episodes for many other shows, including I Spy, Blue Light, The Invaders, Gunsmoke, The Outcasts, Mission: Impossible, Kung Fu, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo: Publish or Perish, Columbo: Double Shock, and Midnight Caller.

He directed actor Kurt Russell in four Walt Disney movies, including Guns in the Heather, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Barefoot Executive.

Butler has won two Emmy Awards for outstanding directing, the first in 1973 for The Blue Knight pilot, and the second in 1981 for his Hill Street Blues premiere.

In 2014 Butler's work was the subject of a career retrospective at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.[2]

Butler was honored by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television Direction in February 2015.[3]



Year Film Credit Notes
1969 Guns in the Heather Director
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes Director
1971 The Barefoot Executive Director
Scandalous John Director
Death Takes a Holiday Director
1972 Now You See Him, Now You Don't Director
1973 The Blue Knight Director Television Movie
1974 McMasters of Sweetwater Director Television Movie
The Ultimate Thrill Director
1975 Black Bart Director, Producer
Strange New World Director Television Movie
1976 Dark Victory Director Television Movie
James Dean Director Television Movie
Mayday at 40,000 Feet! Director Television Movie
1977 In the Glitter Palace Director Television Movie
1978 Hot Lead and Cold Feet Director
Lacy and the Mississippi Queen Director Television Movie
A Question of Guilt Director Television Movie
1980 Night of the Juggler Director
1981 Underground Aces Director
1984 Concrete Beat Director Television Movie
Up The Creek Director
1986 Long Time Gone Director Television Movie
1987 On the Edge Director, Writer, Producer Television Movie
1988 Out of Time Director, Executive Producer Television Movie
1991 The Brotherhood Director Television Movie
1992 Bay City Story Executive Producer Television Movie
1994 White Mile Director Television Movie
1997 Turbulence Director
1998 Glory, Glory Director, Executive Producer Television Movie
2009 Where Do the Balloons Go? Director


Year TV Series Credit Notes
1956-58 Climax! Associate Director 4 Episodes
1958-59 Playhouse 90 Associate Director 3 Episodes
1959-60 Hennesey Director 3 Episodes
1960 Happy Director 1 Episode
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Director 1 Episode
1960-61 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Director 5 Episodes
1961 Bonanza Director 1 Episode
The Dick Van Dyke Show Director 2 Episodes
The Dick Powell Theater Director 1 Episode
The Gertrude Berg Show Director 2 Episodes
Have Gun – Will Travel Director 1 Episode
Michael Shayne Director 1 Episode
Peter loves Mary Director 2 Episodes
1961-62 The Detectives Director 5 Episodes
1962 Follow The Sun Director 3 Episodes
The Rifleman Director 1 Episode
1962-63 Dr. Kildare Director 2 Episodes
Stoney Burke Director 2 Episodes
The Untouchables Director 7 Episodes
1963 Ben Casey Director 3 Episodes
The Greatest Show On Earth Director 2 Episodes
The Richard Boone Show Director 1 Episode
1963-64 The Lieutenant Director 2 Episodes
1963-65 The Defenders Director 2 Episodes
1964 Arrest and Trial Director 1 Episode
The Twilight Zone Director 2 Episodes
1964-66 The Fugitive Director 6 Episodes
1965 Mister Roberts Director 5 Episodes
Run For Your Life Director 1 Episode
The Virginian Director 1 Episode
1965-66 Hogan's Heroes Director 5 Episodes
1965-75 The Magical World Of Disney Director 12 Episodes
1966 Blue Light Director 1 Episode
Shane Director 1 Episode
I Spy Director 4 Episodes
Batman Director 6 Episodes
Star Trek Director 2 Episodes
1967 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Director 1 Episode
The Invaders Director 3 Episodes
Judd, for the Defense Director 2 Episodes
N.Y.P.D. Director 2 Episodes
1967-72 Gunsmoke Director 3 Episodes
1967-81 Insight Director, Producer 4 Episodes
1968 Cimarron Strip Director 2 Episodes
Ironside Director 1 Episode
1969 Mission: Impossible Director 1 Episode
The Outcasts Director 1 Episode
CBS Playhouse Director 1 Episode
1969-70 Lancer Director 4 Episodes
1970 Then Came Bronson Director 1 Episode
1972 Nichols Director 1 Episode
1972-73 The Waltons Director 3 Episodes
1973 Doc Elliot Director 1 Episode
Hawaii Five-O Director 1 Episode
Kung Fu Director 4 Episodes
Roll Out Director 1 Episode
1973-74 Columbo Director 2 Episodes
1975 The Blue Knight Director 1 Episode
1981 Hill Street Blues Director 6 Episodes
1982-87 Remington Steele Director, Creator, Producer, Executive Consultant Multiple Episodes
1985 Moonlighting Director 1 Episode
Our Family Honor Director 1 Episode
1987 Out on a Limb Director 2 Episodes
1988-91 Midnight Caller Director, Executive Producer, Executive Consultant Multiple Episodes
1991-96 Sisters Director, Executive Consultant Multiple Episodes
1993 Sirens Director 2 Episodes
1993-94 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Director, Executive Consultant, Executive Producer Multiple Episodes
1999 St. Michael's Crossing Director, Executive Producer
2001 The Division Director 1 Episode


  1. ^ "Robert Butler". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2013-07-28.
  2. ^ a b c Susan King, "Director Robert Butler put stamp on 'Batman,' other landmark series", Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2014.
  3. ^ Variety, February 5, 2015

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