Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hollywood director Sherman dies at 99

Vincent Sherman, who directed — and romanced — Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford during his heyday as a leading Hollywood filmmaker in the 1940s and '50s, has died. He would have been 100 on July 16.

His death Sunday night at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital was announced by his son, Eric Sherman.

Vincent Sherman, whose film career was seriously damaged by Hollywood's communist "red scare," later became a successful director of such television series as "The Waltons," "Doctors Hospital," "Baretta," "Trapper John, M.D." and "77 Sunset Strip."

Because of his ability to evoke powerful performances from strong-willed female stars, Sherman became known as a woman's director, a title he hated. He was quick to point out that he also directed Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Don Juan," Paul Newman in "The Young Philadelphians," Bogart in "All Through the Night," Richard Burton in "The Ice Palace" and Ronald Reagan in "The Hasty Heart."

Sherman also gained a reputation for romancing many of his famous actresses, and he wrote about them in his 1996 autobiography, "Studio Affairs."

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