Published on: 20 August 2015 in Industry

Herbie Wise and Jack Gold: an appreciation

Reading time: 3 minutes and 53 seconds

We were very sad to hear the news that legendary directors Jack Gold and Herbert Wise had both passed away last week.

Herbert Wise: born 31 August 1924; died 5 August 2015

Jack Gold: born 28 June 1930; died 9 August 2015

Jack and Herbie both had long and distinguished careers in film and television, winning numerous awards and directing a number of landmark films and series. You can read a bit more about their work in the article where we first reported this news last week.

Beyond their work, both directors were also committed and admired members of Directors UK, so we asked a couple of board members past and present to share with us their memories of these two sadly missed directors.

Current Directors UK Board member Piers Haggard writes:

It is a sad coincidence that these two giants of television drama, from the same era but with very individual careers, should pass away within a few days of each other, and be cremated at Golders Green at the same hour on two days this week.

I first met them both during the creation of ADP, the Association of Directors and Producers, which was the very first directors’ organisation, and hence the progenitor of all the bodies that have fought for directors rights ever since. Battling though the union ACTT we managed to win TV residuals for the first time in the mid-70s (they were lost in the late-80s and only won back by the 2000 rights strike). 

Herbie was elected the ADP’s first Chair, natural at the time due to his pre-eminence following the success of I, Claudius. He later followed me as Chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain in the mid-80s, and in the 90s he joined the Board of the DPRS, staying ‘til its transformation into Directors UK, which we both strongly backed.

After the rights strike, Jack Gold, who had had a triumphant career, re-joined the directors’ struggle, making an important contribution in the early 2000s to the revolutionary Codes of Practice that were the basis of today’s TV Creative Rights Agreements. He commanded huge respect in negotiations for the clarity and integrity of his opinions.

But I knew Herbie better, more because of the DGGB than the fact that we had both directed at the Dundee Rep! We also worked in a similar area of television, though, unlike me, he was never, ever, out of work. 

Herbie was a warm, affectionate and much loved man, generous with himself and his time (he spent many years as a prison visitor). I remember him coming to my hospital bed in 2006 after I had nearly died, bringing a swaddled container of his very special and healing Jewish chicken soup.

What can I say; I recovered.

Former Directors UK Chair Mary McMurray:

Jack and Herbie, hugely successful in their respective careers, were also enthusiastically committed to those organisations (forerunners of Directors UK) that gave a voice to all directors - Herbie as Chair of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, Jack as a member of the advisory council of the DPRS. That support continued with the birth of Directors UK.

Both had the energy of much younger men. Herbie was still making his “Hitchcock” appearances in episodes of The Ruth Rendell Mysteries well into his seventies. Jack became a devoted student of the University of the Third Age, and over a “nosh” in a Chinatown restaurant, would give a lively account of his prowess in philosophy, tap-dancing and life drawing.

One of Jack’s greatest works was his Emmy-winning documentary for Granada about the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan. There is a story that when the film was finished, Jack showed it to an over-zealous executive, who produced pages and pages of notes during the viewing. When the film ended, the executive started to deliver his insights. “No”, said Jack courteously, but firmly. “It’s fine as it is”. And it was. Of course.

You may also like

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn more