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Bill Corcoran

Bill Corcoran

The director's bug first bit Bill at the age of twelve when he was chosen to stunt-double a young Irish actor in the Canadian TV series The Forest Rangers. "For me it was like a dream, growing up on the back lot of Kleinburg Studios (near Toronto), having several hundred acres as my playground, and being a part of this small group of people who labored outdoors and in the dark, dank studios making television."

During this eight-year child apprenticeship Bill witnessed the making of several other TV shows and features. "Probably my strongest memory was waking up one night and seeing the whole of our snow-covered valley exploding with the glow of brute lights and sneaking out the fire escape to trudge through two-foot deep snow to finally witness Mark Rydell shooting his first feature, The Fox, the D.H. Lawrence novella with Keir Dullea and Sandy Dennis. It was like a beacon of the kind of magic one could be a part of, but all these people were 'Hollywood' people, kind-of untouchable, unapproachable gods for a young farm boy from rural Ontario... Nevertheless, it was singularly one of the most magical experiences of my young life."

Through lower school and high school Bill continued to witness films being made at the studios and the growth of an industry developing. He also worked with emotionally disturbed children, ran an assessment program for families of children with difficulties, and did follow-up family therapy for several years at Blue Hills Academy and York County Psychiatric Hospital. Here he used his interest in film and theater to begin delving into play therapy and reality therapy, based on role-playing and group dynamics. Occasionally, he would open up the doors of his Humber Workshop Productions to the public for a theatrical performance he directed or the screening of shorts he shot and edited on his father's super 8 Yashica camera.

Bill eventually went off to Trent University in Ontario where he became very involved in music at the Commoner Pub, English literature, and psychology studies. After a short stint at the Bucsh-Reyzinger, studying the master drawings of Albrecht Durer at Harvard, in Cambridge, he returned to Canada and applied to medical school at McMaster University in Hamilton. "When I was interviewed for medical school, I was accepted. But through the honesty of an interviewer who knew my aunt and uncle, he had to disqualify himself based upon conflict of interest. My application was rejected with the understanding that I could reapply the next semester. This left me with the burdensome task of having to find meaningful employment at the beginning of the winter, and so I headed straight to what I really wanted to do and went to Jamaica where Marilyn Stonehouse, Tony Lucibello, and John Frenchie Berger were involved filming a Canadian/US co-production called Swiss Family Robinson. They employed me as a production assistant, and soon I started working the floor as an assistant director, alternating between features and TV series."

In Canada at that time, due to the close associations with the British film industry, it was felt that becoming an assistant director was a route to directing. As Bill desired to become a director, he mentored under directors like Carroll Ballard (Black Stallion), Delbert Mann (Torn Between Two Lovers), Lamont Johnson (Escape from Iran and Unnatural Causes), Robert Dalva (The Return of the Black Stallion), Daryl Duke (Hard Feelings and The Silent Partner), Ralph Thomas (Ticket to Heaven and The Terry Fox Story), Melvin Frank (Lost and Found), Charles Dubin, Harvey Hart, Adam Egoyan, Peter Carter, Eric Till, and many others.

While becoming one of Canada's finest assistant directors, Bill met his needs to write and direct by directing theater projects. These projects included Extremities, Mad in Canada, Talking With, Texts From Nothing, Under Milkwood, and Golden Boy. Finally, after working in Morocco and Rome on The Return of the Black Stallion, Bill returned home to find that opportunities to direct in television had opened up. Robert Cooper gave him his first opportunity to direct on the series Adderly.

While Bill still alternates between TV series, video features, minis, and movies of the week, he is still anxiously awaiting the chance to really explore his craft on the big screen. He is currently writing A Cruel Month, his hope for his first feature film.

Last year Bill produced 22 episodes of a dramedy series called Hope Island for Pax TV, Lionsgate Television, and Paramount International in Vancouver. This year he completed filming Left Behind II: Tribulation Force.

Bill currently lives outside Toronto, Canada, with his wife Julie, his sons Liam and Cole, and his new daughter Lauren.

Favorite quote: Mickey Rooney once told him, " Remember son, it is a privilege to do what we do each day... we are the last magicians... it is our job to bring the magic of stories into people's lives."

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Bill Corcoran Facts


Selected Filmography

Dancing in the Dark
Portraits Of A Killer
Left Behind II: Tribulation Force
Waltons, The: Seasons 1-9 & The Movie Collection
Left Behind Collection
Outlaw Justice
Falcon Beach: Season 1
Switching Channels
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