Director earned 18 Emmys

Concert specials for biz's top names

Dwight Hemion, a television director and producer nominated for 47 Emmys and the winner of 18, died Jan. 28 of renal failure at his home near Rectortown, Va. He was 81.

Hemion and his partner, producer Gary Smith, directed TV specials for such performers as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Bette Midler and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Three of his Emmys were for TV specials starring Streisand.

Hemion's first major directing job came after his service in World War II, when he helmed "The Tonight Show," starring Steve Allen.

Hemion began collecting his Emmy array in 1965 with a trophy for "My Name Is Barbra." After that, he earned Emmys for "Color Me Barbra" in 1966 and "Barbra Streisand: The Concert" in 1995.

For "Baryshnikov on Broadway," which won Hemion two Emmys in 1980, one segment had the ballet dancer joining the dancers line from the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line."

Another Hemion special, "Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music," was an Emmy winner in 1966 and featured Sinatra in his early 50s, singing world-weary songs that contradicted his jet-setting public image.

For a show featuring trumpeter Herb Alpert, he opened with a performance in a bullring in Tijuana, Mexico. The show won two Emmys in 1968, one for director and one for musical program.

Hemion's directorial hand guided the coverage of the inaugural galas of President Reagan in 1985 and President Clinton in 1993 and 1997.