Terrence O’Hara, a television director who most notably worked on series such as “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles,” died of cancer on Dec. 5. He was 76.
Throughout his career, he directed episodes of shows like “The Blacklist,” “Smallville,” “Nikita,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Shield,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The X-Files” and more. It was particularly with “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” where O’Hara found his second homes in directing, working on both shows for nearly two decades and establishing long-lasting relationships with the cast, crew and their families.
O’Hara was born in Newark, N.J., on Christmas Day, 1945, and was raised by parents Joseph and Marie. In high school, O’Hara caught the acting bug watching his sister Judy perform on stage during a school production, soon following her footsteps as the lead in Essex’s high school production of “The Boy Friend.” He attended Rutgers University for two years before heading to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He initially began his career in acting and performing Off Broadway in regional, repertory, dinner theaters and bus and truck tours all over the country, in addition to guest appearances on episodic television and soap operas.
His directing turn came when he was urged to apply to American Film Institute as a directing fellow. With no film footage or directing experience, O’Hara considered himself a long shot but was eventually accepted into the program. He then went on to earn his film repertoire by directing low-budget movies and dozens of episodes of “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade” for Stephen Cannell and Stu Segal. He was brought into the CBS fold with “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” which established him as adept at directing one-hour dramas.
O’Hara is survived by his wife Shanna Reed, children Stacey, Jon and Maddie; sister Judy, brothers Steve and Chris; his two grandchildren, Brian and Katherine, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
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