CKS: When did your career as a director begin, and how did you get into the field?
JL: I began as an editor for Hogan’s Heroes way back; the producer took a liking to me and made me Associate Producer. As Associate Producer, I’d direct a scene or two in an episode. After about a year, he said, “You do a pretty good job. Why don’t you direct a full episode?” After directing about ten episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, I went on to direct other comedies like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family and Love American Style. After about five years, I got into drama directing Love American Style. When I said I wanted to direct drama, they sent me to Universal where I directed Kojak, Rockford Files, Six Million Dollar Man and Marcus Welby. Now I was known as a drama director, and started directing movies for television, followed by directing mini-series, doing eleven of them, one of which was Shogun.
CLK: That was your greatest one.
JL: It won an Emmy for Best Show, and I won the Director’s Guild Award that year.
CKS: Now you’re directing a stage play. Do you enjoy that?
JL: I do. When I first began directing, I joined an acting workshop at Theatre East and directed plays there. I studied drama at UCLA and directed stage plays there. I do a lot of teaching and am interested in doing all types of directing. When a good script comes along, I jump at it. I wanted to take a shot at this one. My daughter, who is the casting director, knew the producer, and after we had a long talk she said, “Let’s have a go at it.”
CKS: Do you have a preference as to whether you enjoy directing film, television or theater?
JL: It all depends on the material. It’s all fun to do if you have a good piece of material to work with.
CKS: Since the play already opened, how is it going?
JL: Everybody who has seen it loves it. They think it’s really funny, especially women who have had babies. That’s what it’s about. These are the stories of each of the five women in Toronto who wrote the script.
Jerry London is the director of “Mom’s the Word“ playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm through November 8 at the El Portal Forum Theatre (5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood). For tickets call (818) 508-4200 or visit www.ElPortalTheatre.com.