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Rod Holcomb, Emmy-Winning ‘ER’ and ‘Lost’ Director, Dies at 80

Rod Holcomb, the TV director known for steering the pilot and series finale of “ER” — the latter for which he won an Emmy in 2009 — has died. He was 80 years old.

Also putting his directorial stamp on network hits like “Lost” and “The Good Wife,” Holcomb earned his first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series in 1988 for “China Beach.” Over his nearly 40 years behind the camera, he directed 21 pilots with 15 going to series.

“The DGA deeply mourns the passing of Rod Holcomb — a visionary director whose impact on television direction and the creative rights of television directors cannot be overstated,” Directors Guild of America president Lesli Linka Glatter said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Rod’s influence as a pilot director on shows like ‘China Beach’ and ‘ER,’ among many others, resonated deeply with directors and audiences alike, leaving a cultural imprint.”

Glatter continued, celebrating Holcomb for his “pioneering use of Steadicam” and other cinematic techniques on the small screen, ultimately “helping establish a visual aesthetic that continues today.”

Holcomb was also a dedicated member of the DGA, serving on seven negotiating committees and as the co-chair of the Television Creative Rights Committee.

“Rod fought to enshrine important protections so television directors could bring their own dynamic visions to life unfettered,” Glatter said. “We will miss his warm, steadfast presence — and know his caring leadership and directorial mastery will continue inspiring directors for generations. Our deepest condolences to his wife, Jane and his family.”

Holcomb got his break as a director in the 1970s directing several episodes of “The Six Million Dollar Man,” a job he worked his way up to from the ABC mail room after graduating with a film degree from San Francisco State. He went on to next direct the original “Captain America” movie in 1979.

He added to his TV movie resume in the years to come, including “A Promise to Keep” (1990), “Silverfox” (1991), “Finding the Way Home” (1991), “A Message From Holly” (1992), “Donato and Daughter” (1993) and many more. He directed the feature film “Chains of Gold” in 1991.

The hundreds of television episodes he directed over the years also included “The West Wing,” “Justified,” “Invasion,” “Numb3rs,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Elementary.”

As far as his work with the DGA, he served on the National Board as an alternate for 10 years, 2003–2013, and was appointed to the negotiating committees for 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

An active member of the DGA’s Political Action and Movies for Television committees, Holcomb was also the co-chair of the Television Creative Rights Committee and served on the Western Directors Council from 1995–2012.

He was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards three times in addition to his 2009 win for “ER”: in 1995 and 1997, both for “ER,” and in 1988 for ABC’s “China Beach.”

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