Director of 'Cool Hand Luke'
Emmy-winning TV series helmerStuart Rosenberg, the Emmy-winning director of dozens of television series and several notable movies, including "Cool Hand Luke," died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 79.
Rosenberg began directing television episodes in the 1950s for such dramatic series as "The Defenders," "The Untouchables," "Naked City," "The Twilight Zone" and "Bus Stop."
He racked up more than 300 TV directing credits and won an Emmy in 1963 for "The Madman," an episode of "Defenders."
It was Rosenberg who directed the pilot for a proposed CBS adventure series called "Calhoun." The show never aired, but screenwriter Merle Miller co-wrote a book about its development called "Only You, Dick Daring! Or, How to write one television script and make $50,000,000, a true-life Adventure") that became a best-seller.
Rosenberg's career as a feature film director was launched in 1960 with "Murder, Inc." starring Peter Falk, for whom it won an Oscar nomination. His last film was "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" in 1991.
In between, he did "Voyage of the Damned" (1976), "Brubaker" (1980) and "The Pope of Greenwich Village" (1984) as well as "The Laughing Policeman" (1973) and "The Amityville Horror" (1979).
But it was 1967's "Luke" that affirmed his directorial credentials. The film starred Paul Newman as a chain gang member and won four Academy Award nominations, although there were none for Rosenberg.
Gordon Carroll's dialogue provided the immortal line "What we've got here is failure to communicate," spoken by Strother Martin as the camp's warden.
Rosenberg found the novel, written by Donn Pearce, at Pickwick Bookstore in Hollywood and brought it to Jack Lemmon's production company. His work was nominated for a DGA Award, but he lost to Mike Nichols and "The Graduate."