Family & Companions
A prolific black American director who specializes in several TV genres but also works in features, Stan Lathan has had a significant influence on a number of black-themed sitcoms including "Sanford and Son," "Amen," "Frank's Place," "True Colors," "Roc," "Martin," "South Central," "Moesha" and "The Steve Harvey Show." He entered the industry in the 1960s through public TV as a director of educational and public affairs programs. Lathan was a director during the early days of "Sesame Street" and made a notable impact as a producer on "Black Journal."
He shifted to features to direct "Save the Children/Brothers and Sisters in Concert" (1973), an all-star music documentary filmed at the 1972 exposition in Chicago held by Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH. This film featured memorable in-concert performances by such rhythm and blues luminaries as Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and The Jackson Five. His first fictional feature was "Amazing Grace" (1974), starring Jackie 'Moms' Mabley. Lathan then directed the musical variety shows "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert," "Soul Train," and several dance specials starring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company. He also directed "The Flip Wilson Comedy Special" (1975), "The Muhammad Ali Variety Special" (1975), and "Broadway Plays Washington!/Kennedy Center Tonight" (1982). In 1984, Lathan directed "Beat Street," one of the first mainstream features to exploit the world of breakdancing and rap music. He also directed episodes of the TV version of "Fame" and several failed music-based pilots.
Lathan has directed many episodes of less ethnocentric sitcoms including "Eight is Enough," "It's Garry Shandling's Show!," and "Good Sports," starring the fair-haired duo of Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett. He is also adept at other TV genres, having worked on the dramatic series "The Waltons" and "Falcon Crest" and the cop/detective shows "Hill Street Blues," "Remington Steele," and "Miami Vice."
Lathan has helmed several classy TV movies with black themes--"The Child Saver" (1988),"Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1987), and most impressively, "Go Tell It on the Mountain," an assured adaptation of James Baldwin's powerful first novel featuring memorable performances by Paul Winfield, James Bond III, Rosalind Cash, Ruby Dee, and Alfre Woodard.
Two sitcoms Lathan directed for Fox feature charismatic black leads; he became the primary director on "Roc," which aired live for its second season and starred Charles S. Dutton, and "Martin," a wildly funny sitcom starring comic Martin Lawrence that showcases and skewers black machismo. He displayed a deft comic touch and flair for familial warmth as director of the pilot and subsequent episodes in the first season of the popular UPN sitcom "Moesha," starring pop singer-turned-actor Brandy. Since the fall of 1996 to 2002, Lathan was involved as director and executive producer of "The Steve Harvey Show" (The WB), which starred the host of "Showtime at the Apollo." The following year, Lathan served as Executive Producer and Director of the Peabody Award winning "Def Poetry Jam" on HBO.
Director (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Began his career at age 21 as the director of "Say, Brother", a weekly magazine show, produced by Boston's PBS affiliate, WBGH-TV (date approximate)
Directed segments of "Sesame Street" (PBS)
Feature debut as director of "Save the Children", a music documentary of the 1972 exposition in Chicago held by Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH
Directed "Amazing Grace", the only film to star comedian Moms Mabley
Directed multiple episodes of the NBC sitcom "Sanford and Son"
Helmed the adaptation of James Baldwin's "Go Tell It on the Mountain" for PBS' "American Playhouse"
Directed the feature, "Beat Street", a trendy musical featuring breakdancing and rapping
Directed "Booker", a biopic for young people about the young Booker T. Washington for "Wonderworks" (PBS)
Directed the premiere and subsequent episodes of the popular NBC sitcom "Amen" starring Sherman Hemsley
Directed the Showtime adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Directed the pilot and premiere episodes of "True Colors", a Fox sitcom about an interracial family
Helmed the pilot and multiple episodes of the acclaimed, but sjort-lived Fox sitcom "South Central"
Directed the pilot and subsequent episodes of "Moesha" (UPN), starring Brandy
Directed the pilot for the UPN spin-off sitcom "Mo'Nique"
Directed the award-winning HBO series "Def Poetry Jam"