Ted Kotcheff (born April 7, 1931), sometimes credited as William Kotcheff or William T. Kotcheff, is a Canadian film and television director, who is well known for his work on several high-profile British television productions and as a director of films such as the Australian classic Wake in Fright and such Hollywood successes as First Blood, Uncommon Valor, Weekend at Bernie's and North Dallas Forty.
Career[edit | edit source]
Kotcheff was responsible for directing some of the best-remembered installments in the Armchair Theatre anthology series from 1958 to 1964. During Underground, transmitted live on 30 November 1958, Kotcheff was required to cope with one of the actors suddenly dying while between two of his scenes. More successfully, Kotcheff also directed the following year's No Trams to Lime Street by Welsh playwright Alun Owen. Kotcheff also worked in the theatre, and in 1962 made 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 classic Australian film Wake in Fright (originally released in the USA in 1971 as "Outback", but re-released in 2012 with its original title). It won much critical acclaim in Europe, and was Australia's entry at the Cannes Film Festival. (In 2009, Wake in Fright was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray disc in a fully restored version.) Also in 1971, Kotcheff returned to television, directing the Play for Today production Edna, the Inebriate Woman for the BBC, which won him a British Academy Television Award for Best Director. In 2000, the play was voted one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of 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 adaptations of his friend and one-time housemate Mordecai Richler's novels The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Joshua Then and Now. The former film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival making 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 Stallone feature First Blood in 1982. They would range from comedies (Fun with Dick and Jane) to dramas (Winter People). In the 1990s, he returned to directing for TV, working on various American series such as Red Shoe Diaries and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where he acts as co-Executive Producer.