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TOS Director Joseph Pevney Dies at 96

The director of numerous episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, including “The City on the Edge of Forever,” died this week. According to his Desert Sun obituary, Joseph Pevney died peacefully in his home in Palm Desert, California, surrounded by his wife and family members. He was 96 years old.

Impact on Trek
In addition to “The City on the Edge of Forever,” Pevney has the distinction of directing a number of classic fan favorite TOS episodes, including “Amok Time” and “The Trouble with Tribbles.” With a total of fourteen episodes, he is tied with the late Marc Daniels for the most number of original Star Trek episodes directed. In addition to the episodes listed above, Pevney also directed “Arena,” “The Return of the Archons,” “The Devil in the Dark,” “A Taste of Armageddon,” “Catspaw,” “Friday’s Child,” “Wolf in the Fold,” “The Apple,” “The Deadly Years,” “Journey to Babel,” and “The Immunity Syndrome.”

In their book “Star Trek The Real Story,” TOS Producers Bob Justman and Herb Solow wrote of Pevney:

Joseph Pevney was an ex-actor turned director. Some former actors become good directors; some become hack directors. Pevney was the former, but more than just “good.”

Life and career
He was born in New York City and began his showbiz career as a boy soprano on the vaudeville circuit in 1924. He then turned to acting, and during the 1930s and 1940s, he acted in several Broadway productions. He then broke into film, acting in such film-noir classics as Body and Soul and Thieves’ Highway. He soon turned his attention to directing, first for motion pictures and later for television. His feature film directorial credits include such classics as the 1956 war drama Away All Boats, the 1957 romantic comedy Tammy and the Bachelor, and the Oscar-nominated drama Man of a Thousand Faces.

Star Trek was hardly the only show on which he left a mark. He directed many other popular television programs, including Wagon Train, Bewitched, The Munsters, The Fugitive, Mission: Impossible, The Virginian, Bonanza, Emergency!, Fantasy Island, The Rockford Files, and Trapper John, M.D.… just to name a few! In a directing career spanning some 35 years, Pevney helmed over 35 films and hundreds of television episodes.

A powerful scene directed by Joseph Pevney

More on Pevney
IMDb page
Memory Alpha article

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Papa Jim
May 25, 2008 7:18 pm

A terrible loss. My condolences to his family.

danpaine
May 25, 2008 7:20 pm

Wow. He had an impressive resume. Some of the most impressive TOS episodes and that hardly scratches the surface. 96 years is a long, hopefully happy run. God Bless.

May 25, 2008 7:53 pm

With Deepest Sympathy

CmdrR
May 25, 2008 7:55 pm

Wow. Not a dud in the bunch. What a great contribution.

Thank you, Mr. Pevney. All the best to your family.

Kirk's Girdle
May 25, 2008 7:56 pm

96. Can’t complain about that kind of mileage.

DesiluTrek
May 25, 2008 8:00 pm

As a classic TV lover, “Directed by Joseph Pevney” has been one of those credits that whenever I see it, it has always made me say “awwwww” because of all his great Trek episodes. As noted above, he also directed episodes of my second-favorite series of all time, “The Fugitive” with David Janssen.

I’m saddened to learn of his passing, but glad to know he had such a good run, to 96.

Spockanella
May 25, 2008 8:00 pm

Very sad, but what a legacy he left. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Captain Hackett
May 25, 2008 8:09 pm

Thanks for making some of the greatest TOS episodes ever and you will be missed. :(

May 25, 2008 8:17 pm

Wow. He did some good ones.

May 25, 2008 8:30 pm

Pevney evidently also directed the only curse work in an original Trek episodewith Kirk saying “Let’s get the hell out of here”…if you don’t count Scotty calling Mudd a jackass in an early episode. That’s a little bit of trivia I never hear anyone quote.

danpaine
May 25, 2008 9:07 pm

#10 – Yeah, Andy. Good point, excellent trivia.

FranBro
May 25, 2008 9:28 pm

RIP, Mr. Pevney. You left us with some great work and great memories.

d

David P
May 25, 2008 9:50 pm

he directed some great episodes

Tanner Waterbury
May 25, 2008 9:56 pm

Rest in peace, Joseph Pevney, you were an amazingly talented person

May 25, 2008 9:58 pm

Thanks for the great entertainment , Mr. Pevney. Rest well.

warptrek
May 25, 2008 10:34 pm

He seemed to always get the best performances out of the cast as witnessed by the above clip. That scene was just plain riveting. THAT is great directing.

Timncc1701
May 25, 2008 10:37 pm

Those were some of my favorite episodes. Thanks for bringing happiness to so many. May you enjoy your reward.

Green-Blooded-Bastard
May 25, 2008 11:31 pm

Died at 96 peacefully and surrounded by loved ones. What a wonderful way to go, add to the fact that for a living, he brought joy to people through his work as an actor and a director. God bless that guy, you know? Talk about good Karma.

max
May 25, 2008 11:57 pm

96! Wow! What a life he must have had!

He directed most of my favorites. Clearly he’s one of the talents that played a big part in making the show so memorable.

demon barber of starfleet
May 26, 2008 12:01 am

He directed pretty much all of the best episodes.

Rest in peace.

SirMartman
May 26, 2008 12:06 am

Its people like Joseph Pevney that made Star Trek what it is today

all his hard work really paid off,

now he gets to sit in the clouds and watch,,

cheers

Iowagirl
May 26, 2008 12:49 am

All those wonderful episodes – one of the last miracle workers has left us with an unforgettable creation.

May 26, 2008 3:00 am

[…] Joseph Pevney, the director of numerous episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, including “The City on the Edge of Forever,” died this week. [trekmovie] […]

Anthony Thompson
May 26, 2008 4:08 am

23.
We know that already.

A great script helps. But Joseph Pevney helped translate those words into magic.

MrRegular
May 26, 2008 9:38 am

My condolences to the family.
Joseph Pevney’s work on the City on the Edge of Forever will remain with us for decades to come, to enjoy again and again. It’s a monument to a great director.

Jay Pevney
May 26, 2008 9:51 am

Hi- Just wondering who the picture is next to the story on Dad. My family
thanks you for the wonderful comments.

Jay Pevney
May 26, 2008 10:22 am

Thanks, No that’s not my Dad. There’s a wonderful picture of him in one of the Star Trek books taken on location at Vasquez Rocks that he liked alot.

Redjac
May 26, 2008 10:25 am

Great work from a great Trek director! They don’t make em like that anymore.

My condolences to his surviving family…

Jay Pevney
May 26, 2008 10:25 am

Amazing, you folks are fast That’s Dad from his acting days before directing, either Nocturne or Thieves Highway. Thanks for taking care of that.

Duane
May 26, 2008 10:40 am

As a kid, I knew that when I saw an awesome Star Trek episode, it was very likely to hae been directed by Mr. Pevney. I always looked for his name among the credits. Even though I was 9 years old and I had no idea who he was or what a director really did, it truly seemed as if he could do no wrong. I read his wiki article last year and was amazed and happy to learn that, at that time, he was still alive. He will be missed.

Thomas Jensen
May 26, 2008 11:04 am

I’m glad he was with his family and lived a long life. What a wonderful legacy he left behind. I so enjoy all the episodes he directed, he was no small part of the original series with his artistry. I echo the sentiments of so many here. My thanks to him for his contribution to the original Star Trek.

My condolences to his family.

Jan Pevney-Holt
May 26, 2008 11:23 am

Thank you for all the beautiful commens about my Dad, and for correcting the photo error so quickly.

Mr. Bob Dobalina
May 26, 2008 11:35 am

He was a great director of many of my favorite shows from my favorite era of television. And what a legacy! His work will continue to entertain for years and years to come! My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones, may he rest in peace.

Commodore Lurker
May 26, 2008 12:18 pm

To the Pevney family: Your father is much beloved among millions of Star Trek fans. His contribution to Star Trek is as great as any of the core creator-visionaries who blessed our lives with something that we fans cannot live without. I, for one, cannot imagine my life without Star Trek in it. The episodes Joseph Pevney directed form the foundation that we call the Star Trek ‘Canon’. Your father’s work touched us in ways and with a depth of impact that my humble words cannot express. We all miss him.

DesiluTrek
May 26, 2008 1:30 pm

All my best to the Pevney family at this difficult time. It doesn’t get any easier no matter how old your loved ones are. I’m glad it helps a little that we Trek fans truly appreciate his contributions. When you feel up to it, I would enjoy hearing about any of your dad’s recollections of working on Star Trek. He was a major figure who never sought to cash in on his connection, so we never really heard much from him about doing the show.

The Vasquez Rocks picture Mr. Pevney’s son mentioned is in the second photo section of “The Making of Star Trek.” It likely was taken during the filming of “Friday’s Child,” since that’s when several other location pics in that photo section were taken.

JKP
May 26, 2008 2:24 pm

Those were some great episodes. A great talent and a great legacy. Will be missed.

CanuckLou
May 26, 2008 7:43 pm

My condolences to the Pevney family. He left an amazing body of work for many to enjoy.

Tango
May 26, 2008 9:28 pm

My condolences as well. He must have had a lot of grand kids and great grand kits.

May 27, 2008 12:16 am

I am sad. The likes of directors Joseph Pevney and Marc Daniels was synonomous with the words ‘quality’ and ’empathy.’ … it seems so few real gentlemen of their calibre exist in Hollywood these days.

The episodes that Mr. Pevney directed are amongst my favorites (of any TV show). I always delighted when I read his name in the credits of any of the greatest TV shows.

My condolences to his family.

Chris H
May 27, 2008 11:33 am

I’m not sad. 96? Sheesh! What a life and career!

[…] John – Classic Star Trek director Joseph Pevney dead at 96 Source […]

capt mike
May 27, 2008 5:52 pm

Wow. 96 now thas was a heck of a run. HE was a class act through and theough and one of the men who made star trek great and made a group of actors realy shine with there talent. he took them and molded them and directed them into our harts and we will forever be gratefull to this class act. If jj abrams can be as half as good as you were then star trek will be just fine. may you rest in peace mr pevney. you will be missed.

Dave Weisbart
May 28, 2008 2:00 am

Jay, Sorry to hear about your dad. Please drop me an email.

Dave Weisbart
May 28, 2008 2:01 am

Sorry…link didn’t go through. davew@prestigeclockrepair.com

Holger
May 28, 2008 6:57 am

My condolences to Mr. Pevneys family. He was a great director.

Balock
May 28, 2008 12:12 pm

Yes, a great name eched into the the making of TOS. There’s a great full page shot of him directing in “The Making of Star Trek”…

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