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Walter E. Grauman (March 17, 1922 – March 20, 2015) was an American director of stage shows, films and television shows.[1]

Walter Grauman
Walter E. Grauman

(1922-03-17)March 17, 1922
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
DiedMarch 20, 2015(2015-03-20) (aged 93)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationTheatre director, film director, television director
Joan Taylor
(m. 1976; div. 1980)

Early lifeEdit

Grauman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Jacob and Irene Grauman, both children of German immigrants who married after settling in the United States.[2] His father, Jacob Grauman, was president of a film distributing company.[2]

In his early years, Grauman lived in Shorewood, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, and later moved to Arizona where he attended the University of Arizona. He served for four years in the United States Army Air Forces flying 56 combat missions over Europe[3][4] in a B-25 in the Twelfth Air Force[5] and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross [6] before moving to California, where his mother was living at the time.

Entertainment industryEdit

After spending a few years running his own business, Grauman eventually took a job as stage manager at NBC's studios in Los Angeles. During his stint working at the network, he and relative (by marriage) Alan Armer developed a talent-show type program that proved popular, setting the mold for shows like Star Search and American Idol to follow.

In 1957, Grauman turned to films, directing "The Disembodied" for the "B film" division of Allied Artists Studios, which was headed by friend Walter Mirisch. Although he directed only six theatrical films, Grauman had one of the most active and long lasting television careers in history which included work on such shows as The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Route 66, The Streets of San Francisco, The Twilight Zone and Murder, She Wrote. He also reportedly helped to get Michael Douglas one of his first jobs as a lead on The Streets of San Francisco.

Grauman directed 633 Squadron, a World War II film about a fictional squadron in the British RAF. In interviews, George Lucas has commented that he patterned the "trench run" sequence in his Star Wars: Episode IV on a scene from this film. (See the article on 633 Squadron for more information.)

Grauman also directed a number of made-for-TV films, including the Aaron Spelling produced 1970 supernatural horror film Crowhaven Farm. Broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week on 24 November 1970 and starring Hope Lange and Paul Burke, the film involves witchcraft, déjà vu, death, betrayal, revenge, and reincarnation, and it has become a cult classic.[7][8][9][10][11]

Grauman was the creator/executive producer of the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards (not to be confused with the Spotlight Awards (GDC) for game developers), which are run through the Los Angeles Music Center. He was among the closest living relatives to Sid Grauman, owner and founder of Los Angeles' famous Grauman's Chinese Theater, Egyptian Theater and Million Dollar Theater. At the time of his death in 2015 at the age of 93,[12] he resided in Los Angeles with his wife.[12][13]

Directorial credits, theatrical filmsEdit

Pilots and television seriesEdit

Live television dramaEdit

Director/creator/executive producerEdit

Movies for television and mini-seriesEdit

Movies for television and mini-series - directorEdit

CBS movies and mini-series - director/producerEdit


  1. ^ O'Connor, John (April 22, 1988). "TV Weekend; Writers on Strike, Networks Rely on Movies". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b 15th Census of the US; Shorewood Village, Milwaukee County, WI, ED 40-361, Sheet 29A
  3. ^ Barnes, Mike (20 March 2015). "Walter E. Grauman, Director on 'Murder, She Wrote,' Dies at 93". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Walter Grauman, film director - obituary". The Telegraph. London, England: The Telegraph. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  5. ^ Kubey, Robert (2004). Creating Television: Conversations with the People Behind 50 Years of American TV. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 297. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Graumans Hit High Note With Party Planning". Los Angeles Times. September 3, 1990.
  7. ^ "New England Terror Drama Airs Tuesday". The Sumter Daily Item. Sumter, SC: Osteen Publishing, Co. 21 November 1970. p. 7. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  8. ^ McKenna, Michael (2013). The ABC Movie of the Week: Big Movies for the Small Screen. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 29. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  9. ^ Deal, David (2007). Television Fright Films of the 1970s. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 21. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  10. ^ Karol, Michael (2008). The ABC Movie of the Week Companion: A Loving Tribute to the Classic Series. New York, NY: iUniverse, Inc. p. 38. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  11. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. pp. 210–211. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b Colker, David (29 March 2015). "Walter Grauman dies at 93; 'Murder, She Wrote,' 'Columbo' TV director". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  13. ^ Dagan, Carmel (20 March 2015). "Director Walter Grauman Dies at 93". Variety. Variety. Retrieved 1 August 2016.

External linksEdit