James Frawley, the Emmy-winning director who brought both the Monkees and the Muppets to the screen during a productive television and film career of five decades, has died. He was 82. Frawley died on January 22 at his home in Indian Well, as first mentioned in the Palm Springs Desert Sun..
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Frawley was born in Houston in September 1936 and hovered into acting, first on stage and then in classic 60s television tariff such as Gunsmoke, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, My favorite Martian, Dr. Kildare, The Outer Limits and I spy.
Frawley & # 39; s career took a big turn in 1966 when he put acting aside to step behind the camera as director of an experimental new NBC series, The Monkees. Inspired by Beatlemania, the primetime music and comedy series introduced a "pre-feb" version of the Fab Four with Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Took and Mickey Dolenz as a daft pop group that channels their own riff on the hectic charms of Beatles movies Help out! and A well-earned rest.
The Monkees took 58 episodes over two seasons, but the legacy and popularity of pop culture went much further than that, especially when the show's band scored authentic hit series that became pop classics, including Last train to Clarksville, Daydream Believer, Steppin & # 39; Stone and I'm a believer.
In 1967, Frawley won an Emmy for directing an episode of the Monkees titled Royal flush and he was again nominated for another episode a year later, The devil and Peter Tork. He would add two more Emmy nominations in later decades for his work on the 1997 Fox pilot Ally McBeal and the 2000 pilot of NBC & # 39; s ed.
His credits on television also include columbo, Magnum, P.I., Gray & # 39; s Anatomy, The Practice, Wonderful World of Disney, Cagney & Lacy, That Girl, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Melrose Place, and Smallville.
The sharp but loopy improvisation energy of The Monkees made a big impression on Jim Henson who flew Frawley to the London series more than a decade later The Muppet Show to discuss a big screen adventure based on the syndicated television series.
The two attached and Frawley signed in to direct The Muppet movie, the 1979 puppet epic that follows a fearless amphibian named Kermit the Frog on his quest for Hollywood fame and introduces him to new friends such as Fozzy Bear, Miss Piggy and Gonzo. The all-star cameos of the film gave Frawley the chance to direct Orson Welles, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin and Mel Brooks.
Below the opening series of The Monkees television series…