Edwin Sherin, who directed the original production of James Earl Jones’ The Great White Hope to a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for best play, died Thursday in Nova Scotia, the Directors Guild of America announced. He was 87.
Sharin graduated from Brown University and later joined the Armed Forces, serving during the Korean War. Following his success in theater, Sherin went on to direct such films as Valdez Is Coming, starring Burt Lancaster, and My Old Man’s Place, with Michael Moriarty, both released in 1971.
His television credits include Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting and L.A. Law. Sherin notably also served as a longtime director and executive producer on Law & Order.
Dick Wolf, who created Law & Order, remembered Sherin in a statement: “Ed was a vital contributor to the success of Law & Order and served as a mentor to many of the writers, directors and producers who are still working for the company today. He was a consummate professional and we will ALL miss him.”
After joining the DGA in 1969, Sherin went on to serve on the DGA National Board for 15 years, including three terms as national vice president from 1997-2003.
Sherin was awarded the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 2002 and the DGA Honorary Life Member Award in 2012 for his work in the guild.
“Above all, Ed believed deeply that the more unified we were as a guild, and the more we reached out and supported each other, the stronger we would become, and he was absolutely right,” said DGA president Paris Barclay. “We will miss him greatly.”
“Our hearts are heavy today as we remember our dear friend and colleague Ed, whose legacy as a director, commitment to our guild, and strength and fervor in his service were an example for us all,” said Michael Apted, who served as the DGA president when Sherin was national vp. “Through Law & Order and his passion for mentorship, he gave critical first-break opportunities to more episodic directors, assistant directors and UPMs than perhaps any other member in the guild’s history.”
“Ed loved life, loved people and he loved his guild,” said DGA national executive director Jay D. Roth. “He attacked problems with commitment and conviction. His leadership and energy not only reinvigorated the New York membership but also inspired many others to become involved in guild service.”