|Spouse(s)|| Sylvia Kay (1960–1972; divorced; 3 children,|
Laifun Chung (?–present; 2 children))
William Theodore Kotcheff (born April 7, 1931) is a Canadian film and television director and producer,known primarily for his work on British and American television productions such as Armchair Theatre and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit . He has also directed numerous successful films including the Australian Wake in Fright (1971), action films such as the original Rambo movie First Blood (1982) and Uncommon Valor (1983), and comedies like Weekend at Bernie's (1989), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), and North Dallas Forty (1979). He is sometimes credited as William T. Kotcheff, and resides in Beverly Hills, California. Given his ancestry, Kotcheff has Bulgarian citizenship.
Kotcheff's given name is Velichko Todor Kostadin (Bulgarian : Величко Тодор Костадин) Kotcheff, although he was registered in official documents as William Theodore Kotcheff. He was born in Toronto to a family of Bulgarian immigrants, who changed their last name from Tsochev (Bulgarian: Цочев) to Kotcheff for convenience. His father was born in Plovdiv, while his mother was of Macedonian Bulgarian background, from Vambel, today in Greece, but grew up in Varna, Bulgaria.
After graduating in English Literature from University College, University of Toronto, Kotcheff began his television career at the age of twenty-four when he joined the staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with television still very much in its infancy in the country. Kotcheff was the youngest director on the staff of the CBC, where he worked for two years on shows such as General Motors Theatre , Encounter , First Performance and On Camera .
In 1958, he left Canada to live and work in the United Kingdom. He was inspired by his compatriot Sydney Newman, who had been the Director of Drama at the CBC and had moved to the U.K. to take up a similar position at ABC Television, one of the franchise holders of the ITV network who also produced much of the nationally networked programming for the channel.
At ABC, Newman as producer of the popular Armchair Theatre anthology drama programme, employed Kotcheff as a director of this series between 1958 and 1960. Kotcheff was responsible for directing some of the best-remembered installments in the Armchair Theatre anthology series from 1958 to 1964.
During Underground , transmitted live on 30 November 1958, Kotcheff was required to cope when one of the actors, Gareth Jones , (playing a character who was to die of a heart attack), suddenly died of one himself, off-camera, while between scenes, leaving Peter Bowles and others to improvise.
More successfully, Kotcheff also directed the following year's No Trams to Lime Street by Welsh playwright Alun Owen.
He also did Hour of Mystery , I'll Have You to Remember (1961) by Clive Exton, and episodes of BBC Sunday-Night Play , ITV Television Playhouse , Espionage , First Night , ABC Stage 67 , Drama 61-67 and ITV Playhouse .
Kotcheff also worked in the theatre.
Kotcheff made his first feature film with Tiara Tahiti (1962).
He went on to direct other features during the decade, including Life at the Top (1965) and Two Gentlemen Sharing (1969).
He also directed The Human Voice (1967) for British television, starring Ingrid Bergman from a story by Jean Cocteau and TV remakes of The Desperate Hours (1967) and Of Mice and Men (1968). He directed a concert for TV, At the Drop of Another Hat .
Kotcheff directed the Australian film Wake in Fright (USA: Outback, 1971; re-released with its original title, 2012).It won much critical acclaim in Europe, and was Australia's entry at the Cannes Film Festival. (In 2009, Wake in Fright was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray disc in a fully restored version.) Kotcheff returned to television, directing the Play for Today production Edna, the Inebriate Woman (1971) for the BBC, which won him a British Academy Television Award for Best Director. In 2000, the play was voted one of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century in a poll of industry professionals conducted by the British Film Institute.
He did Rx for the Defense (1972) for TV and the film Billy Two Hats (1974) in Israel.
He returned home to Canada, where he directed an adaptation of his friend and one-time housemate Mordecai Richler's novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974) which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festivalmaking it the first English Canadian dramatic feature film to win an international award.
He wrote and directed The Trial of Sinyavsky and Daniel (1975) for Canadian television and was a production consultant on Why Shoot the Teacher? (1977).
He relocated to Hollywood. He directed Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) which was a big hit. He followed it with the comedy Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978) then wrote and directed North Dallas Forty (1979) which was critically acclaimed.
Kotcheff did a Canadian film about cults, Split Image (1982), then had his biggest success to date with the Sylvester Stallone movie First Blood (1982), the first in the Rambo series. He did another Vietnam-themed action movie Uncommon Valor (1983) then returned to Canada to make Joshua Then and Now (1985), from the novel by Mordecai Richler.
Kotcheff did Switching Channels (1988) and Winter People (1989), then had a big hit with Weekend at Bernie's (1989).
In the 1990s, Kotcheff returned to directing for TV, working on various American series such as Red Shoe Diaries , and Buddy Faro , plus Casualty in the UK.
He did the occasional feature film such as Folks! (1992) and The Shooter (1995). He did TV movies like What Are Families for? (1993), Love on the Run (1994), Family of Cops (1995), A Husband, a Wife and a Lover (1996), Borrowed Hearts (1997), Cry Rape (1999). He joined the staff of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit , where he acts as Executive Producer and director.
Kotcheff lives in Beverly Hills with his wife Laifun. They have two children Alexandra Kotcheff, a filmmaker, and Thomas Kotcheff, a composer and pianist. He has three children from a previous marriage to the actress Sylvia Kay: Aaron, Katrina and Joshua.
In May and June 2013, he was invited to the Film Forum in New York City for a re-release of his film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz , restored by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
In February 2016, Kotcheff applied for Bulgarian citizenship via the Bulgarian consulate in Los Angeles,and was granted this during a visit to Bulgaria in March. Given his Macedonian heritage, Kotcheff served on the Board of Directors of the Macedonian Arts Council. Per Kotcheff himself, there is not a difference between Macedonian and Bulgarian.
|1971||Cannes Film Festival||Grand Prix du Festival International du Film||Wake in Fright||Nominated|
|1972||British Academy Television Awards||Best Drama Production||Play for Today : "Edna, the Inebriate Woman"||Won|
|1974||Berlin International Film Festival||Golden Bear||The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz||Won|
|1985||Cannes Film Festival||Palme d'Or||Joshua Then and Now||Nominated|
|1986||Genie Awards||Best Director||Nominated|
|1989||Deauville Film Festival||Critics Award||Weekend at Bernie's||Nominated|
|1998||Gemini Awards||Best TV Movie or Dramatic Mini-Series||Borrowed Hearts||Nominated|
|2011||Directors Guild of Canada||Lifetime Achievement Award||N/A||Won|
|Oldenburg International Film Festival||German Independence Honorary Award||N/A||Won|
|2014||Chicago International Film Festival||Gold Hugo for Best Short Film||Fearless||Nominated|
|Canadian Screen Awards||Academy Board of Directors' Tribute||N/A||Won|
|2018||22nd Independent Publisher Book Awards||Performing Arts (Silver)||Director's Cut: My Life in Film||Won|
Mordecai Richler was a Canadian writer. His best known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959) and Barney's Version (1997). His 1970 novel St. Urbain's Horseman and 1989 novel Solomon Gursky Was Here were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is also well known for the Jacob Two-Two children's fantasy series. In addition to his fiction, Richler wrote numerous essays about the Jewish community in Canada, and about Canadian and Quebec nationalism. Richler's Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! (1992), a collection of essays about nationalism and anti-Semitism, generated considerable controversy.
Sydney Cecil Newman, OC was a Canadian film and television producer, who played a pioneering role in British television drama from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. After his return to Canada in 1970, Newman was appointed Acting Director of the Broadcast Programs Branch for the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) and then head of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). He also occupied senior positions at the Canadian Film Development Corporation and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and acted as an advisor to the Secretary of State.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a 1974 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Richard Dreyfuss. It is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Mordecai Richler.
Armchair Theatre is a British television drama anthology series of single plays that ran on the ITV network from 1956 to 1974. It was originally produced by Associated British Corporation. Its franchise successor Thames Television took over from mid-1968.
Micheline Lanctôt is a Canadian actress, film director, screenwriter, and musician.
Lionel Chetwynd is a screenwriter, director and producer from England. He holds British, Canadian and American citizenship.
Gareth Jones was a British actor, born in Lampeter, Wales, chiefly remembered for the circumstances of his death.
Philip Saville was a British director, screenwriter and former actor whose career lasted half a century. The British Film Institute's Screenonline website described Saville as "one of Britain's most prolific and pioneering television and film directors". His work included 45 contributions to Armchair Theatre (1956-1972) and he won two Best Drama Series BAFTAs for Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986).
No Trams to Lime Street is a 1959 British television play, written by the Welsh playwright Alun Owen for the Armchair Theatre anthology series. Produced by the Associated British Corporation (ABC) for transmission on the ITV network, the play was broadcast on 18 October 1959. The original version no longer exists.
Sylvia Margaret Kay was an English character actress who had many roles in British television programmes, most notably as Daphne Warrender in the BBC sitcom Just Good Friends.
Thom Noble is a British film editor who won an Academy Award and an ACE Eddie Award for the film Witness (1985), and who was nominated for the Academy Award and the BAFTA Award for Best Editing for the film Thelma & Louise (1991).
Wake in Fright is a 1971 psychological thriller film directed by Ted Kotcheff, written by Evan Jones, and starring Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay and Jack Thompson. Based on Kenneth Cook's 1961 novel of the same name, it follows a young schoolteacher who descends into personal moral degradation after finding himself stranded in a brutal, menacing town in outback Australia.
Gary James Bond was an English actor and singer. He is known for originating the role Joseph in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, his performances in several high-profile West End plays and musicals, and his portrayal of protagonist John Grant in the 1971 cult Australian film Wake in Fright.
The 24th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 21 June – 2 July 1974. The Golden Bear was awarded to the Canadian film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz directed by Ted Kotcheff.
Underground was a science fiction television play presented as part of the British anthology series Armchair Theatre which was broadcast live by the ITV commercial network on 30 November 1958. It is chiefly remembered because an actor had a fatal heart attack during transmission.
Lloyd Reckord was a Jamaican actor, film maker, and stage director who lived in England for some years. Reckord appeared in 1958 in a West End production of Hot Summer Night, which as an ITV adaptation broadcast on 1 February 1959 contained the earliest known example of an interracial kiss on television. His brother was the dramatist Barry Reckord.
John Kemeny was a Hungarian-born Canadian film producer whom the Toronto Star dubbed "the forgotten giant of Canadian film history." His production credits included the well-known 1974 film, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which starred Richard Dreyfuss, directed by Ted Kotcheff, based on a novel by Mordecai Richler. Kemeny also produced the 1980 romantic comedy, Atlantic City, starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon.
Antonio Meneses Saillant, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer and green activist. An alumnus of the New York Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and then served as a top Management Executive for over 15 years in the energy field, managing over $1 billion in both the private and public sector. His specialties included energy conservation, energy supply management, energy infrastructure where he evaluated and implemented in many companies and projects.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a musical written by David Spencer and Disney composer Alan Menken. The play is based on Canadian author Mordecai Richler's 1959 novel of the same name. The musical is a "morality tale" set in 1950s' Montreal, Canada, about 19-year-old Duddy Kravitz, from the Jewish working-class inner city, who is desperate to make his mark and prove himself to his family and community. After his grandfather tells him that "a man without land is nobody," he works and schemes to buy and develop a lakefront property, but his ambition threatens his personal relationships with those who love him, among them a French Canadian girl he meets while working at a summer resort. Duddy often behaves as a "nervy young hustler" but is at the same time fiercely loyal to those whom he loves. He must "ultimately decide what kind of man he's going to be." The story ended on a bleak note with Duddy isolated and morally compromised, having accomplished his goals only by betraying close friends, including his epileptic and paraplegic friend Virgil, and becoming estranged from his grandfather.
Kochev – with its female form Kocheva – is a Bulgarian and Macedonian surname which is derived from the male given name Kocho, a shortened version of the Bulgarian given name Nikolai/Nikolay that stems from the Greek name Nicholas, meaning "victor of the people."