James Frawley, ‘The Muppet Movie’ Director, Dies at 82

Filmmaker also directed episodes of the TV show “The Monkees”

James Frawley RIP
PASADENA, CA – JULY 10: (L-R) Excutive producer Howard Chesley and director/executive producer James Frawley speak during the during the 2006 Summer Television Critics Press Tour for the ABC Family/Disney Channel at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on July 10, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

James Frawley, the director of “The Muppet Movie” and the show “The Monkees,” died on Tuesday at his home in Indian Wells, California. He was 82.

Frawley’s wife Cynthia told the Desert Sun that he fell and had a heart attack. She also said that he did not tell friends that he suffered from a lung condition after years of smoking. Representatives for Frawley did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Frawley won an Emmy for his work directing an episode of “The Monkees” about the ’60s pop band that was the American answer to The Beatles. He would direct half of the series’ 58 episodes.

He also directed the pilot to “Ally McBeal” and the 2000 comedy, “Ed.” Some of his other TV credits include “Columbo,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Cagney and Lacey” and most recently, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

In 1979, Frawley directed the first “The Muppet Movie,” which was nominated for two Oscars and grossed $76 million at the box office.

Born in Houston, Frawley also had a short career as an actor and was a member in the Actors Studio, appearing in an episode of “Perry Mason” and on Broadway in the Tony-nominated play “Becket” opposite Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn. He got into filmmaking after taking classes under director Sydney Pollack at the Neighborhood Playhouse.

Frawley was also honored by the Palm Springs Women in Film and Television in 2011.