Arthur Hiller

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Arthur Hiller (1923-2016) speaks about his extensive career as a director of theater, film and television. He describes his early years in television working at the CBC in his native Canada. He discusses his work in television in the United States that began on the "live" anthology shows Matinee Theater and Playhouse 90. For each series, he describes the production and memorable episodes he directed. He talks about filmed series he directed in the 1950s and 60s including The Rifleman, The Detectives starring Robert Taylor, and Naked City. He discusses his work in feature films and briefly mentions several of the classic films he helmed. Finally, he talks about his long association with the Directors Guild of America. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the two-part interview on August 15 and 23, 2003 in Beverly Hills, CA.

“If live television was still around - that kind of excitement, I’d rather do that than film.”

Highlights
Arthur Hiller on directing Naked City and Route 66, and the difference between the two
04:03
Arthur Hiller on directing an episode of Perry Mason over the phone from the hospital while his wife was in labor with his son
02:40
Arthur Hiller on making the transition from directing television to directing feature films
03:06
Arthur Hiller on camera tricks and fast changes he had to make while directing Playhouse 90
02:29
Arthur Hiller on how he'd like to be remembered
02:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his childhood love of radio and movies
On early television he enjoyed watching; on working for CBC Radio and Television, and leaving to work in the United States; on directing NBC Matinee Theater

Chapter 2

On his love of directing "live" television; on leaving NBC Matinee Theater and his first experience with film cameras
On the high quality of NBC Matinee Theater and issues with its sponsors; on directing Climax! and Playhouse 90

Chapter 3

On directing NBC Matinee Theater; on moving from "live" to film television
On the differences between early television in Canada versus the United States; on producer Albert McCleery; on censorship issues on NBC Matinee Theater

Chapter 4

On directing Climax!; on directing Playhouse 90; on the excitement of "live" television
On the production schedule for Playhouse 90; on specific episodes of Playhouse 90; on the Hollywood Blacklist

Chapter 5

On directing episodes of Telephone Time and Thriller; on directing Perry Mason and working with Raymond Burr; on directing the pilot of I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
On directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents; on directing Gunsmoke; on directing The Rifleman

Chapter 6

On directing The Rifleman starring Chuck Conners and Johnny Crawford; on directing Gunsmoke starring James Arness
On directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents; on the production of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and on the tone of the show
On directing Thriller; on directing The Third Man; on directing The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Telephone Time with Claudette Colbert

Chapter 7

On directing The Detectives with Robert Taylor and Adam West; on working with Mickey Rooney on The Dick Powell Show
On directing the pilot for The Addams Family; on the cast of The Addams Family including John Astin with whom he'd also worked on I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
On directing Route 66; on working with George Maharis and Martin Milner on Route 66 and on working with the writers of the show; on directing Naked City

Chapter 8

On directing Naked City and Route 66, and the difference between the two; on directing the guest stars of Naked City and on directing other anthology shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse with stars like Errol Flynn; on his Emmy Award nomination for Naked City
On making the transition from directing television to directing feature films; on directing "Love Story" and on being nominated for an Oscar; on directing "Hospital," "Silver Streak," "The In-Laws," and "The Lonely Guy"

Chapter 9

On directing "Outrageous Fortune," "See No Evil, Hear No Evil," and "The Babe"; on directing "An Alan Smithee Film" and working with John Astin; on directing "Love Story"
On his involvement in the Directors Guild of America and on the various issues they deal with; on the status of a feature director versus the status of a television director; on his stint as President of the Directors Guild of America

Chapter 10

On preparing to direct a television show or a feature; on dealing with the casting process as a director; on how he chooses projects to direct
On what he loves about the directing process; on his style of directing and working with actors; on working with difficult actors and dealing with various personalities as a director
On collaborating with directors of photography and lighting designers as a director; on various people he's worked with in his career
On advice to aspiring directors; on career highlights and regrets; on his creative influences

Chapter 11

On people he has mentored; on his trademark hairstyle; on his then-current life and projects and on ageism in the industry; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Addams Family, The

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing the pilot for The Addams Family
04:47
Arthur Hiller on the cast of The Addams Family including John Astin with whom he'd also worked on I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
02:36

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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Arthur Hiller on directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents and working with and for Alfred Hitchcock
04:35
Arthur Hiller on directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents
06:05
Arthur Hiller on the production of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and on the tone of the show
02:54

Barbara Stanwyck Show, The

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Arthur Hiller on directing The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Telephone Time with Claudette Colbert
03:18

Cameo Theatre

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Arthur Hiller on the lack of sets on both NBC Matinee Theaterand Cameo Theatre
03:15

Climax!

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Arthur Hiller on how he came to direct for Climax!
00:28
Arthur Hiller on the first episode of Climax! he directed and dealing with the writer of the episode
02:53
Arthur Hiller on directing actors on an episode of Climax! and forgetting an important detail because of his nerves
00:57
Arthur Hiller on directing Climax!
06:03

Detectives, The

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Arthur Hiller on directing The Detectives with Robert Taylor and Adam West
02:32

Dick Powell Show, The

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Arthur Hiller on working with Mickey Rooney on The Dick Powell Show
04:40

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Arthur Hiller on his Emmy Award nomination for Naked City
01:44

Gunsmoke

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Arthur Hiller on directing Gunsmoke
03:51
Arthur Hiller on directing Gunsmoke starring James Arness
07:53

I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster

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Arthur Hiller on directing the pilot of I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
02:05
Arthur Hiller on the cast of The Addams Family including John Astin with whom he'd also worked on I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
02:36

NBC Matinee Theater

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Arthur Hiller on how he came to direct NBC Matinee Theater, based on a show he had directed in Canada for the CBC
04:38
Arthur Hiller on his first time directing NBC Matinee Theater and his nerves on the set
01:20
Arthur Hiller on the schedule for producing NBC Matinee Theater and the excitement of directing for live television
02:17
Arthur Hiller on dealing with an athlete who couldn't act appearing on NBC Matinee Theater, and his love of doing "live" television
02:32
Arthur Hiller on idea he "stole" from Delbert Mann while directing NBC Matinee Theater
01:02
Arthur Hiller on Dennis Hopper's appearance on an episode of NBC Matinee Theater
00:33
Arthur Hiller on John Conte as host of NBC Matinee Theater
00:27
Arthur Hiller on working with producer Albert McCleery on NBC Matinee Theater
01:12
Arthur Hiller on leaving NBC Matinee Theater
04:24
Arthur Hiller on the opportunities and limitations of NBC Matinee Theater due to the fact it was a daily show, and interference from the sponsors
02:31
Arthur Hiller on the lack of sets on both NBC Matinee Theaterand Cameo Theatre
03:15
Arthur Hiller on NBC Matinee Theater being broadcast in color
01:31
Arthur Hiller on Dennis Hopper appearing on an episode of NBC Matinee Theater
01:48
Arthur Hiller on John Conte as host of NBC Matinee Theater
00:40
Arthur Hiller on the rehearsal process for NBC Matinee Theater
03:01
Arthur Hiller on moving from "live" television on NBC Matinee Theater to film television
05:08

Naked City

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing Naked City
05:02
Arthur Hiller on directing Naked City and Route 66, and the difference between the two
04:03
Arthur Hiller on directing the guest stars of Naked City and on directing other anthology shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
08:57
Arthur Hiller on his Emmy Award nomination for Naked City
01:44

Perry Mason

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Arthur Hiller on directing Perry Mason and working with Raymond Burr
07:01

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Arthur Hiller on directing the guest stars of Naked City and on directing other anthology shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
08:57

Playhouse 90

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Arthur Hiller on meeting Jack Benny, one of his idols, while he was directing an episode of Playhouse 90
00:51
Arthur Hiller on directing Playhouse 90
02:59
Arthur Hiller on working on Playhouse 90 with Martin Manulis, who created the show, and on the quality of the program
01:38
Arthur Hiller on getting the opportunity to direct on Playhouse 90 through Martin Manulis and working with Manulis
01:13
Arthur Hiller on camera tricks and fast changes he had to make while directing Playhouse 90
02:29
Arthur Hiller on production schedule for Playhouse 90 and some memorable moments on the show
02:34
Arthur Hiller on being the only director who directed both "live" and filmed episodes of Playhouse 90
02:13
Arthur Hiller on specific episodes of Playhouse 90 and working with guest stars - both actors and non-actors
04:42

Rifleman, The

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman
03:52
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman starring Chuck Conners and Johnny Crawford
04:18

Route 66

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing Route 66
05:02
Arthur Hiller on working with George Maharis and Martin Milner on Route 66 and on working with the writers of the show
03:59

Telephone Time

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing an episode of Telephone Time
01:14
Arthur Hiller on directing The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Telephone Time with Claudette Colbert
03:18

Thriller

View Show Page
Arthur Hiller on directing the pilot of the series Thriller
03:03
Arthur Hiller on directing Thriller
01:32
Topics

Advertising and Sponsorship

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the "don't dos" list from the sponsors and the networks in early television
01:47

Advice

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on advice to aspiring directors
01:17

Anthology Drama

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the schedule for producing NBC Matinee Theater and the excitement of directing for live television
02:17
Arthur Hiller on dealing with an athlete who couldn't act appearing on NBC Matinee Theater, and his love of doing "live" television
02:32
Arthur Hiller on camera tricks and fast changes he had to make while directing Playhouse 90
02:29

Bloopers

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on mishaps that occurred while directing "live" television, including NBC Matinee Theater and early CBC shows in Canada
01:42
Arthur Hiller on losing a camera while filming a "live" television show in Canada
01:41

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the list of "don't dos" they had from the sponsors and the network on NBC Matinee Theater, and a near-controversy when he cast an African American actor as a doctor
01:41

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on how his parents and a high school drama teacher inspired his love of theater
01:15
Arthur Hiller on his creative influences
00:44
Arthur Hiller on people he has mentored
01:29

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the list of "don't dos" they had from the sponsors and the network on NBC Matinee Theater, and a near-controversy when he cast an African American actor as a doctor
01:41

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on his Emmy Award nomination for Naked City
01:44

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:04

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:04

Minorities

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the list of "don't dos" they had from the sponsors and the network on NBC Matinee Theater, and a near-controversy when he cast an African American actor as a doctor
01:41

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on how his parents and a high school drama teacher inspired his love of theater
01:15
Arthur Hiller on his creative influences
00:44
Arthur Hiller on people he has mentored
01:29

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the schedule for producing NBC Matinee Theater and the excitement of directing for live television
02:17
Arthur Hiller on dealing with an athlete who couldn't act appearing on NBC Matinee Theater, and his love of doing "live" television
02:32
Arthur Hiller on camera tricks and fast changes he had to make while directing Playhouse 90
02:29
Arthur Hiller on the excitement of "live" television
01:04

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on what he felt was lost when the technology changed from "live" television to tape
02:32
Arthur Hiller on NBC Matinee Theater being broadcast in color
01:31
Arthur Hiller on moving from "live" to film television
05:08
Arthur Hiller on the difference between working in "live" television and taped television
01:40

Television Industry

View Topic
Arthur Hiller on the list of "don't dos" they had from the sponsors and the network on NBC Matinee Theater, and a near-controversy when he cast an African American actor as a doctor
01:41
Arthur Hiller on the "don't dos" list from the sponsors and the networks in early television
01:47
Arthur Hiller on the Hollywood Blacklist
02:04
Arthur Hiller on the status of a feature director versus the status of a television director
01:05
Arthur Hiller on advice to aspiring directors
01:17
Arthur Hiller on his then-current life and projects and on ageism in the industry
03:59
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Arthur Hiller on the decisions he made while directing his first television drama, which took place on a ship
01:26
Arthur Hiller on the rehearsal process for NBC Matinee Theater
03:01
Arthur Hiller on how he approached directing different styles of television shows
03:42
Arthur Hiller on making the transition from directing television to directing feature films
03:06
Arthur Hiller on preparing to direct a television show or a feature
02:48
Arthur Hiller on dealing with the casting process as a director
02:58
Arthur Hiller on how he chooses projects to direct
02:11
Arthur Hiller on what he loves about the directing process
01:08
Arthur Hiller on his style of directing and working with actors
03:04
Arthur Hiller on working with difficult actors and dealing with various personalities as a director
02:38
Arthur Hiller on collaborating with directors of photography and lighting designers as a director
03:18
Arthur Hiller on advice to aspiring directors
01:17
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Arthur Hiller on meeting Jack Benny, one of his idols, while he was directing an episode of Playhouse 90
00:51
Arthur Hiller on how he came to direct NBC Matinee Theater, based on a show he had directed in Canada for the CBC
04:38
Arthur Hiller on his first time directing NBC Matinee Theater and his nerves on the set
01:20
Arthur Hiller on the schedule for producing NBC Matinee Theater and the excitement of directing for live television
02:17
Arthur Hiller on dealing with an athlete who couldn't act appearing on NBC Matinee Theater, and his love of doing "live" television
02:32
Arthur Hiller on idea he "stole" from Delbert Mann while directing NBC Matinee Theater
01:02
Arthur Hiller on Dennis Hopper's appearance on an episode of NBC Matinee Theater
00:33
Arthur Hiller on working with host John Conte and producer Albert McCleery on NBC Matinee Theater
01:40
Arthur Hiller on leaving NBC Matinee Theater
04:24
Arthur Hiller on how he came to direct for Climax!
00:28
Arthur Hiller on the opportunities and limitations of NBC Matinee Theater due to the fact it was a daily show, and interference from the sponsors
02:31
Arthur Hiller on the first episode of Climax! he directed and dealing with the writer of the episode
02:53
Arthur Hiller on directing Playhouse 90
02:59
Arthur Hiller on directing actors on an episode of Climax! and forgetting an important detail because of his nerves
00:57
Arthur Hiller on working on Playhouse 90 with Martin Manulis, who created the show, and on the quality of the program
01:38
Arthur Hiller on directing NBC Matinee Theater
15:53
Arthur Hiller on directing Climax!
06:03
Arthur Hiller on directing Playhouse 90
03:52
Arthur Hiller on the production schedule of Playhouse 90 and directing both "live" and filmed versions of the show
04:49
Arthur Hiller on specific episodes of Playhouse 90
04:42
Arthur Hiller on directing an episode of Telephone Time
01:14
Arthur Hiller on directing Boris Karloff in the pilot of the series Thriller
03:03
Arthur Hiller on directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents and working with and for Alfred Hitchcock
04:35
Arthur Hiller on directing Alfred Hitchcock Presents
09:00
Arthur Hiller on directing Thriller
01:31
Arthur Hiller on directing The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Telephone Time with Claudette Colbert
03:18
Arthur Hiller on working with Mickey Rooney on The Dick Powell Show
04:40
Arthur Hiller on Route 66, Naked City, and Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
14:47

Comedy Series

View Genre
Arthur Hiller on directing the pilot of I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
02:05
Arthur Hiller on directing The Addams Family
08:10

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Arthur Hiller on directing Perry Mason and working with Raymond Burr
07:01
Arthur Hiller on directing The Third Man
02:47
Arthur Hiller on directing The Detectives with Robert Taylor and Adam West
02:32
Arthur Hiller on directing Route 66 and Naked City
14:05
Arthur Hiller on Route 66, Naked City, and Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
14:47

Drama Series

View Genre
Arthur Hiller on directing Route 66 and Naked City
14:05
Arthur Hiller on Route 66, Naked City, and Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse
14:47

Western Series

View Genre
Arthur Hiller on directing Gunsmoke
03:51
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman
03:52
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman
04:18
Arthur Hiller on directing Gunsmoke starring James Arness
07:53
People

Judith Anderson

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Arthur Hiller on directing and episode of Telephone Timestarring Judith Anderson
01:14

Julie Andrews

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Arthur Hiller on James Garner and Julie Andrews
00:28

James Arness

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Arthur Hiller on directing James Arness on an episode of Gunsmoke
00:54
Arthur Hiller on directing Gunsmoke starring James Arness
07:53

John Astin

View Interview Page
Arthur Hiller on the cast of The Addams Family including John Astin with whom he'd also worked on I'm Dickens ... He's Fenster
03:24
Arthur Hiller on working with John Astin
01:29

Jack Benny

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on meeting Jack Benny, one of his idols, while he was directing an episode of Playhouse 90
00:51

Robert Blake

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on Robert Blake
00:17

Raymond Burr

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing Perry Mason and working with Raymond Burr
07:01

Johnny Carson

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Arthur Hiller on the Playhouse 90 episode "Three Men on a Horse," featuring Johnny Carson
00:50

Chuck Connors

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Arthur Hiller on directing Chuck Connors on The Rifleman
01:05
Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford
04:18

John Conte

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Arthur Hiller on John Conte as host of NBC Matinee Theater
00:27
Arthur Hiller on John Conte as host of NBC Matinee Theater
00:40

Johnny Crawford

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Arthur Hiller on directing The Rifleman starring Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford
04:18

Bob Cummings

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Arthur Hiller on Bob Cummings
00:28

Errol Flynn

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing the guest stars of Naked City and on directing other anthology shows like Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse with stars like Errol Flynn
08:57

James Garner

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Arthur Hiller on James Garner and Julie Andrews
00:28

John Goodman

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing "The Babe" and working with John Goodman
02:38

Dennis Hopper

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on Dennis Hopper's appearance on an episode of NBC Matinee Theater
00:33
Arthur Hiller on Dennis Hopper appearing on an episode of NBC Matinee Theater
02:06

Rock Hudson

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Arthur Hiller on Rock Hudson
00:12

Boris Karloff

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Arthur Hiller on directing Boris Karloff in the pilot of the series Thriller
00:34

Sophia Loren

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Arthur Hiller on Sophia Loren
00:17

Ali MacGraw

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on working with Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw on "Love Story"
04:14

George Maharis

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on working with George Maharis and Martin Milner on Route 66 and on working with the writers of the show
04:00

Delbert Mann

View Interview Page
Arthur Hiller on idea he "stole" from Delbert Mann while directing NBC Matinee Theater
01:02

Martin Manulis

View Interview Page
Arthur Hiller on working on Playhouse 90 with Martin Manulis, who created the show, and on the quality of the program
01:38
Arthur Hiller on directing Playhouse 90 and working with Martin Manulis
01:13

Albert McCleery

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on working with producer Albert McCleery on NBC Matinee Theater
01:12
Arthur Hiller on producer Albert McCleery, who Hiller credits with bringing him to the United States from Canada
05:28

Nick Nolte

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Arthur Hiller on Nick Nolte
00:18

Ryan O'Neal

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Arthur Hiller on working with Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw on "Love Story"
04:14

Peter O'Toole

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Arthur Hiller on Peter O'Toole
00:17

Al Pacino

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Arthur Hiller on Al Pacino
00:21

Richard Pryor

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder
01:18

Mickey Rooney

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Arthur Hiller on working with Mickey Rooney on The Dick Powell Show
04:41

Barbara Stanwyck

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing The Barbara Stanwyck Show and Telephone Time with Claudette Colbert
03:18

Robert Taylor

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on directing The Detectives with Robert Taylor and Adam West
02:32

Dennis Weaver

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Arthur Hiller on directing Dennis Weaver on an episode of Gunsmoke
01:44

Adam West

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Arthur Hiller on directing The Detectives with Robert Taylor and Adam West
02:32

Gene Wilder

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Arthur Hiller on directing "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder
01:18

Natalie Wood

View Person Page
Arthur Hiller on Natalie Wood
00:29

All Interviews

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