‘NCIS,’ ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Director Terrence O’Hara Dies at 76

Terrence O'Hara
Courtesy O'Hara family

Terrence O’Hara, who directed 85 episodes of various franchises of NCIS on CBS, died on December 5 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 76.

His family confirmed his passing in a statement: “Terrence waged a heroic battle with cancer until he couldn’t, but for five years wore his struggle with unimaginable grace. He continued to direct, do the dishes, walk the dog, shovel snow, hang Christmas lights and have dinner with friends and never felt sorry for himself, though that would have been OK. His fortitude is one for the ages. He will be deeply, dearly, madly missed.”

O’Hara’s 56th and final NCIS episode, titled “Birds of a Feather,” aired on May 23, while his 29th and final episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, “Bonafides,” aired this past March. He also directed 4 episodes of the now-concluded NCIS: New Orleans and 17 episodes of the original series that spawned NCIS, JAG. Outside of the franchise, the prolific television director also helmed episodes of Angel, Grimm, The Blacklist, Heroes, Smallville, The X-Files, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and many more.

NCIS executive producer Mark Horowitz released a statement about his frequent collaborator: “One of Terrence’s many strengths as a director came from his curiosity and understanding of human nature. He loved exploring human emotion and the things that make people tick. Whether it was a new actor in their first role onscreen or the star of the show, Terrence had such an instinct for helping actors, for quickly figuring out what each one of them needed. His ability to guide and take them to the next level was amazing to watch,” he noted.

“He was always searching and pushing to find and reveal the human moments, the things that an audience recognizes as the truth,” Horowitz continued. “No matter how stressful the circumstances, everyone working with him knew, Terrence is here, we’ll get through this, and it’s going to be great. With empathy and openness, Terrence was a great director, an artist, a truly honest man, and a dear, dear friend.”

His family has noted donations in his memory to the World Central Kitchen and the Red Cross are appreciated.