Earl Bellamy, a Hollywood director who worked on more than 1,600 episodes of television, died on Nov. 30 from a heart attack. He was 86.
Bellamy’s father was a railroad engineer who moved the family from Minnesota to Hollywood in 1920. After graduating from Hollywood High School in 1935, Bellamy received a degree from City College-Los Angeles and took a job as a messenger for Columbia Studios. Within four years, Bellamy had worked his way up to second assistant director before taking time off to serve in the U.S. Navy’s photographic unit during World War II.
When Bellamy returned to Hollywood, he became a well-respected director who was particularly adept at westerns. Although he directed nearly two dozen feature films, Bellamy was best known for his work on “The Lone Ranger,” “Rawhide,” “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin” and “The Virginian.”
Family fare was his forte in the ’50s; he directed shows like “Lassie,” “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Donna Reed Show.” In the ’60s, he focused on comedic sitcoms like “The Munsters” and “McHale’s Navy.” Medical dramas, like “M.A.S.H.,” “Marcus Welby M.D.” and “Trapper John M.D.,” kept him busy in the ’70s. And just before retiring in 1986, Bellamy directed the science fiction miniseries, “V.”
In 2002, the Motion Picture and Television Fund gave him the prestigious Golden Boot Award.