BREAKING: Prolific director of TV’s ‘Blacklist’, Moonlighting’ and ‘Law & Order: SVU’ passes away aged 76

BREAKING: Prolific director of TV's 'Blacklist', Moonlighting' and 'Law & Order: SVU' passes away aged 76

Prolific director of TV's 'Blacklist', Moonlighting' and 'Law & Order: SVU' passes away aged 76

Peter Werner, the director responsible for a plethora of top television shows including ‘The Blacklist’, Moonlighting’ and ‘Law & Order: SVU’, passed away at the age of 76.

Peter Werner, one of television’s most prolific directors, passed away this Tuesday, March 21 at the age of 76. According to Deadline, the Emmy-nominated director died from heart complications following a torn aorta, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Werner started out in downtown Detroit V.I.S.T.A. Volunteer after graduating with Master’s degrees in documentary filmmaking and education. He subsequently co-founded a Quaker high school in Deerfield, Massachusetts. He met Frances Flaherty while working in Vermont as a teacher. She was widowed from the man known as the father of the documentary film, Robert Flaherty.

Their friendship blossomed and Frances became Peter’s mentor. He ended up making a documentary about her that was eventually broadcast on PBS. Tom Werner, his younger brother, helped him produce it. His brother of course went on to become famous in his own right.

Tom was responsible for top television comedy productions including ‘The Cosby Show’, ‘That ’70s Show’, ‘Roseanne’, and and ‘The Conners’. He is also the co-owner of Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox.

In 1977, Peter picked up an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. He shared the prestigious honour with Andre R. Guttfreund for ‘In the Region of Ice’. It was based on the short story by Joyce Carol Oates and written and directed by Peter. His American Film Institute student film was originally screened at the New York Film Festival.

Werner directed several documentaries, a host of TV movies and miniseries, episodic television and pilots, including ‘Nash Bridges’. Carlton Cuse, the creator of ‘Nash Bridges’, commented: “I will deeply miss Peter’s wry sense of humour, and the goodness that filled his soul. He was a terrific director and an even better human being”.

His enormous list of directing credits for television series includes some of the most popular shows to ever grace our screens. He was the man behind ‘The Blacklist’, ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’, ‘Elementary’, ‘Blue Bloods’, ‘Ghost Whisperer’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Boomtown’, ‘Justified’, ‘A Different World’, ‘Medium’, ‘Six’, and ‘The Wonder Years’.

Throughout the course of a glittering career, Peter was nominated four times for an Emmy Award and three times for a DGA Award. The HBO film ‘The Image’, which starred Albert Finney, earned him an ACE cable Award. There was also ‘LBJ: The Early Years’ on NBC, for which Werner won a Peabody and also an Emmy nomination.

Glenn Caron, who wrote and produced Moonlighting, tweeted: “Just received word that Peter Werner died today. A terrific director who did many of the most highly regarded episodes of “Moonlighting”. We later worked together on “Medium” and also “Bull”. A truly terrific person. He will be very missed. My sympathy to his family, who I know”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at