William F. Claxton

William F. (Francis) Claxton (October 22, 1914 – February 11, 1996) was an American film and television producer, editor and director. He made a number of films for Robert L. Lippert. He also directed and produced episodes of Bonanza,[1] the NBC-TV series Little House on the Prairie, and also directed episodes of the NBC-TV series Father Murphy, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, Fame, and The High Chaparral.[2]

William F. Claxton
Claxton directing The High Chaparral
William Francis Claxton

(1914-10-22)October 22, 1914
DiedFebruary 11, 1996(1996-02-11) (aged 81)
OccupationFilm/Television producer, editor, & director
Years active1940–1988
Spouse(s)Janet G. Claxton


Claxton got his start in Hollywood as a film editor in the 1940s, where he was employed an editor for Edward Small Productions,[3] as he would move into directing of second feature films by 1950s and 1960s, and also delve into television directing during this period.

During World War II, Claxton served in the U.S. Signal Corps as a captain. Claxton worked under Frank Capra as a film editor on the Why We Fight series. Claxton worked alongside Theodor Seuss Geisel in the animation and film department of the United States Army.

Drawing done during World War II

Claxton's very first directorial effort was 1951's All That I Can Have.[3] Claxton, who is best known for his TV work, enjoyed a long stint as producer/director of the syndicated Christian anthology series This is the Life[3] (which was his first work in TV) from 1951 to 1980.

He spent much of the 1950s with 20th Century Fox's Regal Pictures subsidiary, turning out medium-budget films which included the films God Is My Partner (1956) and Desire in the Dust (1960); occasionally, as in the cast of Rockabilly Baby (1957), he produced as well as directed.[3]

Claxton was a close friend to actor Michael Landon,[3] with whom he worked on the NBC-TV series Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and then Highway to Heaven, and who also enjoyed the This is the Life series, which Claxton was involved with. Claxton also directed the feature-length series pilot Bonanza: The Next Generation (1988).[3]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Zsa Zsa guests on Bonanza". Los Angeles Times. Mar 13, 1967. ProQuest 155575411.
  2. ^ "Syfy Wire: OCTOBER 22 In Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the Birth of Director William F. Claxton (1914–1996)". syfy.com. Retrieved September 7, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f "William F. Claxton Biography". allmovie.com. Retrieved September 7, 2018.

External linksEdit