Siegel, Don

Siegel, Don

▪ American director
byname of  Donald Siegel  
born Oct. 26, 1912, Chicago, Ill., U.S.
died April 20, 1991, Nipomo, Calif.

      American motion-picture director who specialized in action-packed films with tightly constructed narratives.

      Siegel studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, and at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After a brief stint as an actor, he joined Warner Brothers studios near Hollywood as an assistant film librarian. In 1939 he created Warner's montage department. Siegel soon began directing short films, and he completed his first feature film, The Verdict, in 1946. He worked for Howard Hughes at the RKO studios from 1948 to 1951 and thereafter began making the thrillers and crime and police dramas for which he is known.

 Siegel's taut film narratives were especially successful vehicles for Clint Eastwood (Eastwood, Clint), who starred in such box-office hits as Coogan's Bluff (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1971), and Escape from Alcatraz (1979). Some of Siegel's other credits include The Big Steal (1949), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Killers (1964), Madigan (1968), Charley Varrick (1973), The Shootist (1976), and Telefon (1977). Beginning in 1961, Siegel was also a producer and director for television. He occasionally acted in films, playing a cab driver in a 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a bartender in Play Misty for Me (1971), and a doctor in Escape from Alcatraz.

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Universalium. 2010.

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