Robert Butler, the man who directed the pilot episodes for numerous television series - including for Star Trek and Batman - has died at the age of 95.
Butler's family announced his passing on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, roughly a week after his death.
"November 16, 1927 - November 3, 2023, Robert Stanton Butler, revered television director, loving husband, devoted father, and doting grandfather, passed away on November 3, 2023, in Los Angeles," the family wrote.
The family, in the remainder of their statement, provides an overview of Butler's life.
Butler's career in the entertainment industry got going in the 1950s. This came after he graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and after he spent time in the Army Ground Forces Band, toward the end of World War II.
Butler's first gig was with CBS as an usher. He slowly worked his way up the ranks until he became an associate director. And, in 1959, he earned his first director credit for an episode of Hennesey, a military comedy-drama.
This was the start of what would turn into an illustrious directing career.
"Over the next forty years he directed many of the most popular television series, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Hogan's Heroes, I Spy, Batman, Star Trek, Gunsmoke, The Waltons, Hawaii Five-O, Kung Fu, and Colombo," Butler's family writes.
Butler is also particularly well-known for having directed a number of pilot episodes of famous television series. This includes the pilots for Hogan's Heroes (1965), Star Trek (1966), Batman (1966), The Blue Knight (1973, TV's first mini-series), Hill Street Blues (1978), Moonlighting (1985), Sisters (1991), and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993).
In addition to television series, Butler also directed a number of movies, including The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The Barefoot Executive (1971), Scandalous John (1971), Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972), among others.
For his work, Butler has won multiple Emmy Awards, including for The Blue Knight and for Hill Street Blues. Butler was also nominated for an Emmy Award for Lois & Clark and Hill Street Blues as well as forthe pilot episodes of Sirens, Moonlighting, and Remington Steele.
Butler, to say the least, has had a huge impact on the industry.
As DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter put it:
Few directors have changed the face of television as much as Bob did — his impact on the medium is truly immeasurable, and this loss to our guild is deeply felt.
Butler is survived by his wife, Adri, his son and daughter, and his grandsons, Rainer and Liam.