Menu

'Star Trek' Director Joseph Pevney Dies at 96

Joseph Pevney, who directed some of the best-loved episodes of the original "Star Trek" television series, has died. He was 96.

Pevney died May 18 at his home in Palm Desert, said his wife, Margo.

Pevney directed 14 episodes of the 1960s series, including "The City on the Edge of Forever," in which Capt. Kirk and Spock travel back in time to the Depression, and "The Trouble With Tribbles," in which the starship Enterprise is infested with cute, furry creatures.

Pevney loved the series, said his son, Jay.

"He was surprised at the longevity of it because it was not a popular series at the time; it hit its real popularity (in syndication) after it was over," he said.

Pevney directed with precision and was highly organized "but he was very relaxed — in fact, jovial — in the way he directed," said George Takei, who played Sulu. "I enjoyed working with him."

Pevney had made his movie debut playing a killer in 1946's "Nocturne." As an actor, he made several other film noir appearances but then turned to directing with 1950's "Shakedown."

Pevney went on to direct more than 35 films, including two memorable movies from 1957: "Man of a Thousand Faces," which starred James Cagney as silent star Lon Chaney, and "Tammy and the Bachelor," a romantic comedy starring Debbie Reynolds that spawned her No. 1 hit record, "Tammy."

In the 1960s and '70s Pevney turned to television, directing dozens of episodes of series such as "Wagon Train," "Fantasy Island," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Trapper John, M.D."

He retired in 1985.

Born in 1911 in New York, Pevney began his entertainment career as a boy soprano in vaudeville. For several years in the 1930s and '40s, he acted in or directed Broadway productions. He came to Los Angeles after serving in the Army in World War II.