John Paul Nickell, 84, a television director during the medium's so-called Golden Age. Born in Salt Lick, Ky., Nickell earned degrees at Morehead State Teacher's College and the University of North Carolina before starting work in television at WPTZ in Philadelphia. He landed in New York in 1948 and directed "Studio One" on alternate weeks for the next 8 1/2 years. He also directed "The U.S. Steel Hour," "Omnibus" and the variety show "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends." Nickell moved to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, where he directed for "Playhouse 90," "Bonanza," "Ben Casey," "Lassie" and "The Virginian." Nickell left television in 1968 to begin a teaching career at the University of North Carolina, where he remained until his retirement in 1981. On May 17 at the Springmoor Retirement Community in Raleigh, N.C.