Director Eric Laneuville turns 70

L.A. Law, Lost, NYPD Blue, Dream On

One of my favorite television programs was the MTM program St. Elsewhere (NBC, 1982-1988). And one of my favorite characters was Luther Hawkins, played by Eric Laneuville, who appeared in 128 of 137 episodes. Initially, Luther was a hospital orderly, but he became a certified paramedic and eventually a student physician assistant.

Eric was born in New Orleans, LA. His first prominent acting roles were in the science-fiction film The Omega Man (1971) with Charlton Heston and on the TV program Room 222 (1970-1974). But he has had but two acting credits since 1996, and none since 2014.

That’s because he’s in demand as a director. He started this path by directing 20 episodes of St. Elsewhere, starting in 1984. He has also helmed multiple episodes of Midnight Caller; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Everybody Hates Chris; Girlfriends; Ghost Whisper; CSI: NY; The Mentalist; Grimm; NCIS: Los Angeles; Blue Bloods; Chicago Fire; and the current iteration of The Equalizer.

(St. Elsewhere was up against the earlier version of The Equalizer on CBS on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. for three seasons. I’d watch St. Elsewhere but catch The Equalizer in reruns.)

Eric was nominated for Emmys (Dream On, I’ll Fly Away, the Directors Guild of America awards (Lost, NYPD Blue), and both (L.A. Law).

I’ll Fly Away

In 1992, Eric won both an Emmy and a Director’s Guild Award for the All God’s Children episode of I’ll Fly Away. I LOVED that program, which ran from 1991 to 1993 on NBC, plus a TV movie on PBS.

“Forrest Bedford [a pre-Law and Order Sam Waterston] is a Southern lawyer in the late 1950s, generally content with his privileged life. But the winds of change are blowing, and he becomes increasingly involved with civil rights cases. Meanwhile, Lilly Harper [Regina Taylor], who cares for his children, is on her own journey of political and personal awareness.” The kids were played by Jeremy London as Nathan, Ashlee Levitch as Francie, and John Aaron Bennett as John Morgan

Here’s the All God’s Children episode of I’ll Fly Away.

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