Peter Werner, Oscar-Winning Veteran TV Director, Dies at 76

His brother, “That ’70s Show” producer Tom Werner, reported his death on Wednesday

Peter Werner
Peter Werner (YouTube)

Peter Werner, an Oscar-winning director known for his work behind the camera on such TV series as “Moonlighting,” “A Different World” and “Law & Order: SVU,” has died at age 76.

His brother Tom Werner, co-founder of The Carsey-Werner Company, said via an email to The Hollywood Reporter that Peter died Tuesday morning in Wilmington, North Carolina, of a torn aorta.

Born in New York on Jan. 17, 1947, Werner earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Antioch University and an MFA from the American Film Institute.

While still a student at AFI, Peter won an Oscar for his 1976 live-action short film “Region of Ice,” which was based on Joyce Carol Oates’ short story and starred Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan.

The next year, he began his long and illustrious television directing career on the set of ABC’s “Family.”

He went on to direct multiple episodes of series including the Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd-starring “Moonlighting,” and “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World,” as well as “Ghost Whisperer,” “Medium,” “Justified” and “Blue Bloods.”

Werner received the first of four Emmy nominations in 1986 for “Moonlighting,” and was also nominated for the TV movies “LBJ: The Early Years” (1987), “Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story” (1995) and “Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy (2006).” He received a Peabody Award for “LBJ,” which also earned an Emmy nomination for star Randy Quaid.

His final TV directing credit was for a 2019 episode of “Law & Order: SVU,” “At Midnight in Manhattan.”

In the ’80s, he also directed the feature films “Don’t Cry, It’s Only Thunder,” “Prisoners” and “No Man’s Land.”

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, Kedren, and children Lillie, Katharine and James.