Rod Holcomb, an Emmy-winning ER director who also helmed Battlestar Galactica, The Six Million Dollar Man, China Beach and dozens of other shows and was a longtime Directors Guild negotiating committee menber, has died. He was 80.
The DGA said Holcomb died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a long illness.
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“The DGA deeply mourns the passing of Rod Holcomb — a visionary director whose impact on television direction and the creative rights of television directors cannot be overstated,” DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter said in a statement. “Rod’s influence as a pilot director on shows like China Beach and ER among many others, resonated deeply with directors and audiences alike, leaving a cultural imprint. His pioneering use of Steadicam and other techniques brought a more cinematic style to television, helping establish a visual aesthetic that continues today.”
Holcomb helmed hundreds of TV episodes during his 40-year career, scoring four career Emmy noms — three for ER and the other for China Beach — and three DGA noms. His credits range from the 1970s series The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica and BJ and the Bear to such 2010s shows as Elementary, Chicago Fire and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.
Along the way, Holcomb directed episodes of popular series including The Mentalist, Rizzoli & Isles, CSI: Miami, Justified, NCIS: Los Angeles, The West Wing, The Equalizer, Scarecrow & Mrs. King, The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, Hill Street Blues, Fantasy Island and Quincy, M.E.
During his career, Holcomb directed 21 pilots — including ER, whose series finale he also helmed — with 15 going to series.
Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Holcomb worked almost exclusively in movies for television such as A Promise to Keep, Silverfox, Finding the Way Home, A Message From Holly, Donato and Daughter, The Prosecutors, The Pentagon Papers, Code Breakers, Bounty Hunters and The Way. He also directed the 1991 feature film Chains of Gold.
Boron on May 28, 1943, in San Francisco, Holcomb got his start in show business with a mailroom job at ABC Studios in Los Angeles.While there he was asked to write a promo for ABC’s Lee Majors hit The Six Million Dollar Man, which was well liked by the network. He was hired as associate producer on the series, leading to his hiring as director for several episodes. After the show ended its four-season run in 1978, Holcomb directed the original Captain America film the following year.
He also was an active member of the Directors Guild, serving on its National Board as an alternate from 2003-13 and the Western Directors Council as a member or alternate from 1995-2012. He was appointed to the DGA Negotiating Committees in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 and was the co-chair of the Television Creative Rights Committee. He was also an active member of the DGA’s Political Action Committee and Movies for Television Committee.
“His legacy stretches far beyond the lens,” Linka Glatter added. “By dedicating himself to Guild service — including serving on seven Negotiating Committees and serving as the co-Chair of the Television Creative Rights Committee — Rod fought to enshrine important protections so television directors could bring their own dynamic visions to life unfettered. We will miss his warm, steadfast presence – and know his caring leadership and directorial mastery will continue inspiring directors for generation.”
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