Star Trek and Batman director Robert Butler dies aged 95 (Picture: Wetcher/Barry/Avalon)
His death was announced in a heartfelt obituary, in which it was revealed that he died just under a fortnight away from his birthday.
The announcement read: ‘Robert Stanton Butler, revered television director, loving husband, devoted father and doting grandfather, passed away on November 3, 2023 in Los Angeles.’
Born on November 16 1927 in Hollywood, Butler studied at UCLA and joined the Army Ground Forces Band at the end of World War II.
In the early 1950s, his work in entertainment began, kickstarting his career as an usher at CBS.
‘He moved up to production clerk, stage manager, and then associate director, working closely with mentor directors John Frankenheimer, Franklin Schaffer, and Arthur Penn,’ the obituary said.
Butler co-created Remington Steele, which starred Pierce Brosnan in the titular role (Picture: Breuel-Bild/ABB/Avalon)
‘While working at CBS Television City he met Adrienne Hepburn, a “script girl” working on Playhouse 90. The two married in 1957 and remained a devoted couple for 66 years.’
Butler’s first credit as a director came in 1959 for an episode of Hennesy, starring Ron Howard and John Cooper.
He went on to direct for various TV shows across a career spanning several decades, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, and I Spy.
Butler directed the pilots for programmes such as Star Trek, Hogan’s Heroes, Batman and Hill Street Blues.
The late director received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors Gulid of America in 2015 (Picture: Xavier Collin/Avalon)
The late director was recognised for his directing skills with Emmy Awards for The Blue Knight and Hill Street Blues, ‘for which he is widely credited with changing the face of police procedural shows, innovating a hand held camera style that offered a grittier look to the dramatic narratives’.
‘He was also honored with Emmy nominations for Lois & Clark, Hill Street Blues and the pilot episodes of Sirens, Moonlighting, and Remington Steele, which he co-created.’
Butler received awards from the Directors Guild of America, including the Robert B Aldrich Achievement Award for his decades of work in 2001, and the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
He is survived by his wife Adri, his son and daughter, and his grandsons Rainer and Liam.
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He was a ‘revered television director, loving husband, devoted father and doting grandfather’.