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Dan Curtis (August 12, 1927 – March 27, 2006) was an American director and producer of television and film, probably best known for his miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance and for his afternoon TV series Dark Shadows. Dark Shadows originally aired from 1966 to 1971 and has aired in syndication for nearly 40 years. Curtis was responsible for the 1991 remake of Dark Shadows, which was canceled due to low ratings. He was the executive producer for Dark Shadows for The WB Television Network; however, it was canceled before the pilot episode aired.
His series of macabre films include The Night Stalker (which inspired the series Kolchak: The Night Stalker), Intruders, The Night Strangler, House of Dark Shadows, Night of Dark Shadows, Burnt Offerings, Trilogy of Terror, The Norliss Tapes (a 1973 pilot for an unproduced series starring Roy Thinnes), Curse of the Black Widow, Dead Of Night, Scream of the Wolf and others. He worked frequently with sci-fi/horror writer Richard Matheson. Curtis was producer and/or director of a number of television adaptations of horror-related productions including Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Turn of the Screw, all made between 1968 and 1975.
In 1978, Curtis made a departure from his usual macabre offerings, when he wrote, produced, and directed the sentimental NBC television film When Every Day Was the Fourth of July. Although fictionalized, the film was semi-autobiographical, based on his childhood growing up in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the 1930s. The film was originally intended to be a pilot for a potential series, but when the series was not picked up by the NBC network, Curtis produced and directed the 1980 television movie sequel The Long Days of Summer, this time airing on the ABC network.
His miniseries The Winds of War was nominated for four Emmy Awards.
He also directed the War and Remembrance mini-series which was the continuation of The Winds of War. This mini-series was 30 hours in length and was split into two segments, Chapters I-Vll and Vll, the final chapter. This series received 15 Emmy Award nominations and won for best miniseries, special effects and single-camera production editing. The miniseries was nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor (John Gielgud), actress (Jane Seymour) and supporting actress (Polly Bergen).
Curtis died of a brain tumor in his home on March 27, 2006, two weeks after the death of his wife Norma.
Curtis' rights to Dark Shadows remain with his estate, who have signed a deal with Warner Bros. for a new Dark Shadows movie. The film will star Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and is set for release in 2012.
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