Paul Wendkos: born 10 September 1925, Philadelphia Pennsylvania; died 12 November 2009, Malibu California. Director in Hollywood 1957 – 1999, including “Gidget” 1959, “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” 1961, and “Gidget Goes To Rome” 1963. Full obituary below the photo.
Malibu resident Paul Wendkos, best known for directing the ‘Gidget’ movies starring Sandra Dee, died Nov.12 of a lung infection following a stroke, according to a Los Angeles Times report. He was 84 years old.
Wendkos’ career spanned 50 years and covered more than 100 films and television shows, including several episodes of ‘The Untouchables’ and ‘I Spy.’
He also directed the 1971 occult thriller ‘The Mephisto Waltz,’ starring Alan Alda. His first narrative film was the 1957 noirish low-budget drama ‘The Burglar,’ with Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield.
Prior to that, Wendkos directed the documentary ‘Dark Interlude’ about rehabilitating the blind. He went on to work primarily in television, directing movies and miniseries, including ‘The Legend of Lizzie Borden,’ starring Elizabeth Montgomery, and ‘A Woman Called Moses’ with Cicely Tyson as Harriet Tubman.
Born Sept. 20, 1925, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and attended Columbia University in New York and later studied film history and aesthetics at the New School for Social Research. He married Ruth Burnat in 1953. After her death in 1978, he wed former NBC television producer Lin Bolen. He is survived by Bolen; Jordan, his son from his first marriage; a granddaughter, a niece and nephews.