Don Weis

Active - 1951 - 2016  |   Born - May 13, 1922   |   Died - Jul 26, 2000   |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Mystery

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Leaving his Milwaukee home in 1942 in hopes of attending the University of Southern California, Don Weis secured work as a messenger at Warner Bros. After war service as a technician in Warners' army training film unit, Weis became a dialogue director at Enterprise Productions, working on such films as Body and Soul (1947) and Arch of Triumph (1948). Hired as a director for Ida Lupino and Collier Young's Filmakers Company, Weis was wooed to MGM by that studio's head man, Dore Schary. His first effort for MGM was a brief sequence in It's a Big Country (1951), followed by his first full-fledged feature, Bannerline (1951). Weis' helming of such lightweight MGM musicals as I Love Melvin (1953) and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953) earned him a brief cult reputation with foreign film critics, though he was hardly confined to the song-and-dance genre. He entered television in 1956, eventually winning several Director's Guild Awards. During his TV years, Weis was busiest with comedy programs like The Jack Benny Show and The Andy Griffith Show, and slick adventure series like Burke's Law and It Takes a Thief; one of his more notable TV assignments was the 1959 pilot film Head of the Family, Carl Reiner's precursor to the popular Dick Van Dyke Show. In the mid-'60s, Weis directed several of the American-International teen-oriented musicals, among them Pajama Party, Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, and Looking for Love (which has earned latter-day notoriety as being the first and last film to star Johnny Carson). After completing the never-released Darren McGavin feature film Zero to Sixty (1977), Don Weis closed out his career with such episodic TV efforts as Charlie's Angels and MASH.

Movie Highlights

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