Fielder Cook

Active - 1956 - 1997  |   Born - Mar 9, 1923   |   Died - Jun 20, 2003   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The cum laude holder of a B.A. in literature from Washington and Lee University, Fielder Cook continued his education as a major in Elizabethan Drama at the University of Birmingham (England, not Alabama). With these lofty credentials, Cook could have pursued a career as a theatrical director; instead, he chose to get in on the ground floor of the fledgling medium of television, beginning with Lux Video Theater in 1950. He functioned as producer and director on most of the prestigious live anthologies of TV's Golden Age, including The Kaiser/Aluminum Hour, Kraft Theater, and Playhouse 90. His direction of the original 1955 telecast of Patterns led to his being assigned the 1956 film version of the Rod Serling teleplay. Cook's subsequent film efforts were variable, to say the least: for every winner like A Big Hand for the Little Lady there was a failure like How to Save a Marriage (And Ruin Your Life) (1968). He fared far better in his periodic returns to television, helming such superior made-for-TV movies as The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (the 1971 pilot film for The Waltons), Judge Horton and the Scotsboro Boys (1976), A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1977), Gauguin the Savage (1980), and Will There Really Be a Morning? (the 1982 Frances Farmer TV biopic). Fielder Cook has twice been honored with the Emmy award, first for his 1967 TV staging of the Broadway musical Brigadoon, then for the 1970 telecast of Arthur Miller's The Price.

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