Prolific TV director Peter Werner passed away at age 76 due to heart complications, his brother Tom Werner confirmed. The famed Oscar-winning icon is known for his works on Moonlighting, A Different World, Justified, and Law & Order: SVU. His television career spanned five decades.
Werner died on Tuesday in Wilmington, North Carolina. In an email sent to THR, his brother relayed that “he had a torn aorta that the doctors weren’t able to repair.” His sudden passing is greatly mourned in the industry.
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Renowned Director Peter Werner’s Passing Serves A Great Loss In The TV Industry
Peter Werner was born on January 17, 1947. He received his formal training after graduating with a Master’s degree in education and documentary filmmaking. He started his career working as a VISTA volunteer in Detroit, and while teaching in Vermont, he met the widow of Robert Flaherty, who is known as the father of documentary films.
Frances Flaherty became Werner’s mentor in the industry. He made a documentary about her which his brother, Tom, produced for PBS. His student movie project, In the Region of Ice, was screened at the New York Film Festival, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short. This catapulted Werner’s career into fame after he helmed an episode of ABC’s Family (1977).
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His friends in the industry were deeply saddened by his passing. Moonlighting creator Glenn Gordon Caron said (via Deadline):
“Peter was a terrific director who did many of the seminal episodes of Moonlighting, most famously the ‘black and white episode’, otherwise known as ‘The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice’. He was a great friend, a good man, and a gentle soul.”
Nash Bridges creator Carlton Cuse also mourned the loss of his work’s director:
“I will deeply miss Peter’s wry sense of humor, and the goodness that filled his soul. He was a terrific director and an even better human being.”
As one of the most sought-after television directors both in the past and present, Werner’s sudden passing has massively left a huge dent in the entertainment industry.
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A Summary Of Peter Werner’s Impressive Works And Achievements
Peter Werner’s lengthy career in Hollywood has proved him one of the most respected names in the industry. In 1986, he earned his first Emmy nomination for Moonlighting. His other award-winning projects include LBJ: The Early Years (1987), Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story (1995), and Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy (2006).
His extensive TV credits also include Ghost Whisperer, Medium, The Wonder Years, Boomtown, Grimm, UnReal, Blue Bloods, The Blacklist, Elementary, Unforgettable, and Six. His last TV directing credit was for a 2019 episode of Law & Order: SVU.
Werner was also a recipient of the Peabody Award for LBJ and three DGA Award nominations. He also garnered an ACE Cable Award for the HBO film, The Image.
Aside from his brother, Werner is survived by his wife, Kedren; children Lillie, Katharine, and James; and grandchildren Asher, Indira, and Uma.
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