Ted Post dies at 95; veteran TV and movie director

Ted Post in 1996.
Ted Post in 1996.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Ted Post, a veteran television and film director who directed a young Clint Eastwood on TV’s “Rawhide” and later directed the film legend in the hit movies “Hang `em High” and “Magnum Force,” has died. He was 95.

Post, who had been in failing health, died early Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, said his daughter, Laurie Post.

Beginning with an episode of the TV dramatic anthology series “Danger” in 1950, Post went on to direct segments of series such as “Armstrong Circle Theatre,” “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars,” “Medic,” “Waterfront,” “Perry Mason,” “The Rifleman” and “Gunsmoke.”


For television in the ‘60s, he directed series such as “Twilight Zone,” “The Defenders,” “Combat!” and, most frequently, “Peyton Place,” the hit continuing romantic drama that aired up to three times per week.

Post also directed more than 20 episodes of “Rawhide,” the popular western series launched on CBS in 1959 starring Eric Fleming and Eastwood.

After Eastwood’s big-screen successes in Italian director Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti westerns,” the star insisted that Post direct his 1968 western “Hang `em High.”

Post went on to direct Eastwood in the 1973 film “Magnum Force,” the first of the “Dirty Harry” sequels featuring Eastwood’s signature San Francisco police inspector, “Dirty” Harry Callahan, first seen in the Don Siegel-directed “Dirty Harry” two years earlier.

Among Post’s other film are “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970), “The Harrad Experiment” (1973) and “Go Tell the Spartans” (1978). He also directed the 1976-77 TV series “Rich Man, Poor Man — Book II” and the 1986 TV-movie remake of “Stagecoach.”

Born in Brooklyn on March 31, 1918, Post began thinking of a show business career while working weekends as an usher at the Loew’s Pitkin Theatre in Brooklyn in the late ‘30s.

He studied acting in a workshop taught by a former actress with the Moscow Art Theater but soon gave up thoughts of becoming an actor and began directing at a summer stock theater on Long Island.

After serving in the Army during World War II, he resumed directing in the theater. That included directing Bela Lugosi in a 1948 production of “Dracula” at the Norwich Summer Theatre in Connecticut.

Post is survived by his wife of 72 years, Thelma; his daughter, Laurie Post, a clinical psychologist; his son, Robert Post, dean of Yale Law School; four grandchildren and his brother Joe and sister Ruth.

Services are planned for 1 p.m. Friday at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles.

McLellan is a former Times staff writer.