Stan Lathan

Stan Lathan

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.