- Ted Kotcheff
Ted Kotcheff (sometimes credited as William Kotcheff or William T. Kotcheff; born
April 7, 1931in Torontois a Canadian filmand televisiondirector of Bulgarian descent, who is well known for his work on several high-profile British televisionproductions and as a director of films such as " First Blood".
The son of immigrants from Macedonia, after graduating in English Literature from the
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 across to the UK to take up a similar position at ABC Television, one of the local franchise holders of the ITVnetwork who also produced much of the nationally-networked programming for the channel. At the ABC, Newman oversaw as producer the popular " Armchair Theatre" anthology drama programme, and he employed Kotcheff as a director on this series, for which he directed several plays between 1958 and 1960.
Kotcheff was responsible for helming some of the best-remembered instalments in the "Armchair Theatre" strand, although for very different reasons. "Underground", transmitted on
November 28, 1958saw him having to cope with one of his actors, Gareth Jones, dying while in make-up between two of his scenes. As the play was being transmitted live, Kotcheff had to hastily improvise a way around the loss of one of his main cast, with Newman telling him to "shoot it like a football match", following whatever action happened on set with the improvising surviving cast members. More successfully, Kotcheff also directed the following year's "No Trams to Lime Street" by Welsh playwright Alun Owen, who later went on to write The Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night" in 1964.
As well as directing for "Armchair Theatre" during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Kotcheff also directed several productions for the
theatre, and in 1962 directed 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
Australian film "Outback", which won much acclaim and was the Australian entry at the Cannes Film Festival. The same year he returned to television, directing the " Play for Today" production " Edna, the Inebriate Woman" for the BBC, which won him a British Academy Television Awardfor Best Director. In 2000, the play was voted one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmesof 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 the adaptation of his friend and one-time roommate
Mordecai Richler's novel "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz". The film won the Golden Bearat the Berlin Film Festivalmaking 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 Stallonefeature "First Blood" in 1982.
In the 1990s he returned to directing for
television, working on various American series such as "The Red Shoe Diaries" and "". Kotcheff now lives in Beverley Hillswith his wife and two children when he is not on the set of "Law & Order" in New York. He has three children from a previous marriage.
Charges of racism and sexism
In April 2007, reports of racism and sexism involving Kotcheff surfaced in the media after formal complaints were filed against Kotcheff by the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees [Cite web
url = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=15890
title = 'Law & Order: SVU' Exec Reprimanded for Racism on Set
accessdate = 2007-04-28
SF Gate] [Cite web
url = http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSN2634619020070426
title = TV producer accused of racism, sexism
accessdate = 2007-10-03
Reuters] . The complaints included Kotcheff calling various Asian-American crew members "Chinamen" over the past three years and calling another "Stepin Fetchit", a derogatory name for a black actor.
The Shooter" (1995)
Weekend at Bernie's" (1989)
Winter People" (1989)
Switching Channels" (1988)
*"Joshua Then and Now" (1985)
Uncommon Valor" (1983/I)
Split Image" (1982)
First Blood" (1982)
North Dallas Forty" (1979)
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?" (1978)
Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977)
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" (1974, The Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival)
Billy Two Hats" (1974)
Two Gentlemen Sharing" (1969)
*"Life at the Top" (1965)
Tiara Tahiti" (1962)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)
*"Crime in Connecticut: The Story of Alex Kelly" (1999)
Buddy Faro" (1998)
Borrowed Hearts" (1997)
*"A Husband, a Wife and a Lover" (1996)
Family of Cops" (1995)
*"Love on the Run" (1994)
*"What Are Families for?" (1993)
Edna, the Inebriate Woman" (1971)
*"The Human Voice" (1967)
*"Lena, O My Lena" (1960)
*"After the Funeral" (1960)
No Trams to Lime Street" (1959)
* [http://www.filmreferencelibrary.ca/index.asp?layid=46&csid1=3093&navid=87 Canadian Film Encyclopedia]
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