Jerry Foley, Longtime Director on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman,’ Dies at 68

Jerry Foley, who served as director of “The Late Show with David Letterman” from 1995 until the end of its run — died March 10 at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. A family friend said he died following a ski accident in Vermont. He was 68.

Foley, who was the brother of director James Foley, directed nearly 4,000 hours of late-night television, including all 72 episodes of “Live on Letterman,” episodes of “The View,” and Broadway segments for “Good Morning America.” He also produced and directed the “America Salutes You” benefit concert.

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The DGA remembered him on X, writing “His exceptional directing earned him 9 DGA Award noms & 24 Emmy nods.”

Foley was the executive producer and director of the “Live on Letterman” concert series before it ended in 2015, a position he held after being promoted from the series’ supervising producer in May 2003. Throughout his run, Foley directed concerts featuring an array of talent — including The Black Keys, The Killers, Adele, Phoenix, Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw.

“Jerry was the beating heartbeat of the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ and directed some of the most iconic moments in music and TV history, Kim Reynolds, a producer who worked closely with Fowley, said in a statement. “He was the north star for so many people in this industry and was known for his incredible humor, quick wit and sarcasm that went unmatched.”

With a keen adoration of theatre and Broadway, Foley also produced and directed over 40 Broadway performances for “The Late Show:” including “Wicked,” “Pippin,” “The Adams Family,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Hair,” “Young Frankenstein” and Cinderella. He was the executive producer and director of “CBS News: 50 Years Later, Civil Rights,” “The Beatles 50 Years Later: How CBS is Remembering the Fab Four” and directed the NBC primetime special “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come.”

Foley was feted with many accolades throughout his career. He was nominated for nine Directors Guild of America Awards and more than 20 Emmys — a record for a single person working on a variety series.

A lifelong New Yorker, Foley was born in 1955 and raised in Staten Island. The USC graduate started his career with Letterman as the technical director of NBC’s Letterman series. He eventually followed the legendary funnyman to CBS’ rendition of the show, becoming the director in 1995 and remaining with the show until its conclusion in May 2015.

He is survived by siblings Jo Ann, Kevin, James and Eileen, his son Quinn (Antea) and his wife, Ann Marie.

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