James Sheldon James Sheldon

James Sheldon, a pioneering director whose work helped shape early television, died at his home in Manhattan on March 12 due to complications from cancer, the New York Times reports. He was 95.

Sheldon, who started his career as an NBC page in the early 1940s, went on to direct over 100 shows in several genres. His first credited directing job was in 1952 for an episode of the comedy Mister Peepers. His last was a 1986 episode of Sledge Hammer!, a cop show parody.

In between, he directed classic episodes of The Twilight Zone, Sanford and Son and The Patty Duke Show, among many others. According to the Times, in 1967 alone he directed episodes of Ironside, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, That Girl, The Fugitive and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Celebrity deaths in 2016

Sheldon is survived by two sons, Tony and James Jr., and three grandsons.