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PASSINGS : Paul Wendkos : 'Gidget' director had long career

November 16, 2009|Times Staff Reports

Paul Wendkos, 84, a director whose more than 100 film and television credits included the 1959 movie "Gidget" and its two sequels, died Thursday at his home in Malibu of a lung infection that followed a stroke, family representative C. Christie Craig said.

"Gidget," starring Sandra Dee, was followed by "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" in 1961 and "Gidget Goes to Rome" in 1963. Wendkos' other films included 1969's "Guns of the Magnificent Seven."

For television, he directed movies and mini-series such as "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" in 1975, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, and "A Woman Called Moses" in 1978 with Cicely Tyson. He was nominated for an Emmy for "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story" with Lindsay Wagner in 1988.

Wendkos was born Sept. 20, 1925, in Philadelphia and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He attended Columbia University in New York and later studied film history and aesthetics at the New School for Social Research.

Wendkos' first film was the documentary "Dark Interlude" that looked at rehabilitating the blind, and his first narrative movie was the 1957 drama "The Burglar," starring Jayne Mansfield, who was little known at the time.

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news.obits@latimes.com

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