Lela Swift dies at 96; TV director/producer worked with young James Dean
Lela Swift, an early-day TV director who worked with a young James Dean and went on to work on the long-running daytime soap opera “Ryan’s Hope,” has died. She was 96.
Swift rose from the secretarial pool at CBS in the 1940s to become a steady TV producer, despite predictions from others at the studio that her work behind the camera would probably be confined to cooking shows.
As a director or producer she worked on “Studio One,” “Suspense” and “The Web,” including an episode in which Dean was cast as a bellhop who solves a murder at an exclusive resort. She later spent years working on the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” and the long-running “Ryan’s Hope.”
Born Lillian Siwoff on Feb. 1, 1919, in New York City, she went to work for CBS at a time when it was undergoing a rapid expansion. She died Aug. 4, according to Starz Entertainment.
Swift, whose husband, Gilbert Schwartz, died earlier this year, is survived by two sons, Stuart Schwartz and Russell Schwartz; five grandchildren; and a brother, Seymour Siwoff.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.