Emmy-winning director Harry Harris dies

'Fame,' 'Waltons,' 'Bonanza' among his credits

Harry Harris, the Emmy-winning television director whose expansive credits include episodes of "Fame," "7th Heaven" and "Bonanza," has died. He was 86.

Harris died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday of complications due to the blood disorder myelodysplasia, said his stepson Michael Daruty, NBC Universal's senior vp technical operations.

"He had longevity in this business. He worked until he was 85. He directed through 2007, when he was directing '7th Heaven.' 'No' was not an answer for Harry," Daruty said Tuesday.

Harris won an Emmy in 1982 for directing an episode of the drama series "Fame." He was nominated for the directing award in 1974 for an episode of "The Waltons."

Born in Kansas City in 1922, Harris moved to Los Angeles in 1937 and began his Hollywood career in the mailroom at Columbia Studios, then worked his way up to sound effects, said Daruty.

After enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II, Harris was singled out by the military because of his film background and was hired by Ronald Reagan at Culver City's Hal Roach Studios as a sound effects editor on combat and training films, Daruty said.

After the Army, Harris went back to Columbia, and then left to eventually become an editor at Desi Arnaz's Desilu Prods. Arnaz gave Harris his first directing gig with the TV series "The Texan," starring Rory Calhoun.

Harris went on to direct hundreds of TV episodes, from Steve McQueen in the western series "Wanted -- Dead or Alive" to "Rawhide," "Gunsmoke," "Lost in Space," "Hawaii Five-O" and "Falcon's Crest."

Harris is survived by his wife Patty, his daughters Joanne and Suzanne, and Daruty, Patty's son from a previous marriage.