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John Erman
Born(1935-08-03)August 3, 1935
DiedJune 25, 2021(2021-06-25) (aged 85)
Other namesJohn M. Erman
Years active1955–2006
SpouseRichard Blair

John Erman (August 3, 1935 – June 25, 2021) was an American television director, producer, and actor. He was nominated for ten Primetime Emmy Awards, winning once for the film Who Will Love My Children? (1983). He also won two Directors Guild of America Awards for the miniseries Roots (1977) and the film An Early Frost (1985).


Born in Chicago, Illinois, Erman spent the early years of his career, after a few small roles in films such as The Cosmic Man (1957), directing episodes of such primetime series as Peyton Place, The Fugitive, The Outer Limits (original series), Stoney Burke, Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, That Girl, The Flying Nun, Marcus Welby, M.D., Star Trek (original series), and Judd, for the Defense.

Erman directed episodes of Roots and its sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, as well as Alex Haley's Queen. He helmed many television films, including Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn, Green Eyes, Child of Glass, The Scarlett O'Hara War, Who Will Love My Children?, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, Right to Kill?, An Early Frost, The Atlanta Child Murders, The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank, David, Breathing Lessons, Scarlett, The Sunshine Boys, Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke, The Boys Next Door, and Candles on Bay Street, many of which he also produced.

Erman directed the feature films Making It (1971), Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973, credited as Bill Sampson) and Stella (1990).


Erman died on June 25, 2021, in New York City, New York after a brief illness, at age 85.[1][2][3]

Awards and nominations

Primetime Emmy Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
1977 Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series Roots ("Part II") Nominated
1980 Outstanding Directing in a Limited Series or Special The Scarlett O'Hara War Nominated
1983 Who Will Love My Children? Won
1984 A Streetcar Named Desire Nominated
1986 Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or Special An Early Frost Nominated
1987 Outstanding Miniseries The Two Mrs. Grenvilles Nominated
1988 Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or Special Nominated
1989 Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special David Nominated
1994 Outstanding Made for Television Movie Breathing Lessons Nominated

Directors Guild of America Awards

Year Category Nominated work Result
1978 Outstanding Directing – Drama Series Roots ("Part II") Won
1984 Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or TV Film Who Will Love My Children? Nominated
1986 An Early Frost Won



Year Film Credit Notes
1955 Blackboard Jungle Actor (Uncredited) Role: Daly
1956 The Benny Goodman Story Actor Role: Harry Goodman (aged 16)
Anything Goes Actor (Uncredited) Role: Boy
1959 The Cosmic Man Actor Role: Radar Operator
1971 Making It Director
1973 Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies Director Credited as Bill Sampson
Letters from Three Lovers Director Television Movie
1977 Green Eyes Director, Producer Television Movie
Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn Director Television Movie
1978 Child of Glass Director Television Movie
Just Me and You Director Television Movie
1979 My Old Man Director Television Movie
1980 The Scarlett O'Hara War Director Television Movie
This Year's Blonde Director Television Movie
The Silent Lovers Director Television Movie
1982 The Letter Director Television Movie
Eleanor, First Lady of the World Director Television Movie
1983 Another Woman's Child Director Television Movie
Who Will Love My Children? Director Television Movie
1984 A Streetcar Named Desire Director Television Movie
1985 Right to Kill? Director Television Movie
An Early Frost Director Television Movie
1987 When the Time Comes Director, Producer Television Movie
1988 The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank Director, Supervising Producer Television Movie
David Director Television Movie
1990 Stella Director
The Last Best Year Director, Producer Television Movie
1991 The Last to Go Director, Producer Television Movie
Our Sons Director, Production Supervisor Television Movie
Carolina Skeletons Director, Supervising Producer Television Movie
1994 Breathing Lessons Director, Producer Television Movie
1996 The Boys Next Door Director, Producer Television Movie
The Sunshine Boys Director Television Movie
1997 Ellen Foster Director, Producer Television Movie
1998 Only Love Director, Executive Producer Television Movie
2004 The Blackwater Lightship Director, Producer Television Movie
2006 Candles on Bay Street Director, Producer Television Movie


Year TV Series Credit Notes
1957 Navy Log Actor 1 Episode
West Point Actor 1 Episode
1958 Playhouse 90 Actor 1 Episode
1962-63 Stoney Burke Director, Associate Producer, Assistant to Producer 11 Episodes
1963-64 The Outer Limits Director, Production Associate, Casting Consultant 19 episodes (first season only)
1964 The Fugitive Director 1 Episode
Ben Casey Director 1 Episode
1965 Karen Director 1 Episode
Profiles in Courage Actor 1 Episode
1965-66 My Favorite Martian Director 12 Episodes
1966 Please Don’t Eat The Daisies Director 6 Episodes
1966-67 That Girl Director 10 Episodes
1967 Occasional Wife Director 1 Episode
1967-68 The Second Hundred Years Director 4 Episodes
1967-69 Judd, for the Defense Director 3 Episodes
Peyton Place Director 12 Episodes
1968 Star Trek Director 1 Episode
The Flying Nun Director 4 Episodes
1968-70 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Director 8 Episodes
1969 Bracken's World Director 1 Episode
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Director 2 Episodes
1969-74 Marcus Welby, M.D. Director 5 Episodes
1970 Room 222 Director 2 Episodes
1971 Arnie Director 1 Episode
1974 The Girl with Something Extra Director 1 Episode
1975 The Bob Newhart Show Director 1 Episode
Karen Director 3 Episodes
M*A*S*H Director 1 Episode
1976 Family Director 4 Episodes
Good Heavens Director 1 Episode
1977 Roots Director 1 Episode
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Director 3 Episodes
1985 The Atlanta Child Murders Director
1987 The Two Mrs. Grenvilles Director, Supervising Producer
1993 Alex Haley's Queen Director, Co-Producer
1994 Scarlett Director, Producer
1999 Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Director
2001 Victoria & Albert Director 2 Episodes


  1. ^ Pedersen, Erik (June 29, 2021). "John Erman Dies: Emmy Winner Who Directed For 'Star Trek', 'Roots' & 'M*A*S*H' Was 85". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  2. ^ Barnes, Mike (July 6, 2021). "John Erman, Emmy-Winning Director and Frequent Ann-Margret Collaborator, Dies at 85". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  3. ^ Nakamura, Reid (July 6, 2021). "John Erman, Emmy-Winning 'Roots' and 'Star Trek' Director, Dies at 85". TheWrap. Retrieved September 26, 2021.