Friday, March 9, 2012

Jerome Courtland Dead at 85; Primetime Soap Director

Jerome “Jerry” Court­land, who was a director for primetime soaps KNOTS LANDING, FALCON CREST, DYNASTY and THE COLBYS, died on March 1 of heart dis­ease in the Santa Clarita Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia. He was 85.

Court­land was a pro­ducer at Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios and Screen Gems for over 25 years. He had been an actor before turn­ing to pro­duc­ing and direct­ing. In 1959, he nar­rated the Dis­ney short Noah’s Ark, nom­i­nated for an Oscar the fol­low­ing year for Best Short Sub­ject (Cartoon).

He worked on such fea­ture films as Escape to Witch Moun­tain, Ride a Wild Pony and Return From Witch Moun­tain. Before he left Dis­ney in the early 1980s, he pro­duced the live-action movie The Devil and Max Devlin.

Courtland also appeared as an actor on KNOTS LANDING for a couple of episodes playing Dr. Green.

He moved to the Chicago area in 1997, becom­ing a Colum­bia Col­lege pro­fes­sor. For five years, he taught act­ing and direct­ing for the cam­era for five years. He retired to Florida, where he wrote and illus­trated children’s books.

He was married three times, the first to actress Polly Bergen. The second to Janet Courtland with whom he had 3 sons; 2 daughters; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He is survived by his third wife Marlene and 2 half sisters, Margaret England and Betty Shattuck.

A memo­r­ial ser­vice cel­e­brat­ing his life is planned for March 31.

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