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Actor Jud Taylor -- probably best remembered for his role as Steve McQueen's American prisoner-of-war friend in The Great Escape -- turned to directing in 1968 with Paramount's Fade-In, but had his name removed from the film, replaced by the Directors Guild authorized psuedonym of Alan Smithee. The actor-turned-filmmaker got his first official directorial credit two years later with the TV movie Weekend of Terror, also made for Paramount. His career thereafter was largely confined to television movies, but included several excellent works, including Tail Gunner Joe, Mary White (both 1977), and, ironically, The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1988), following up on the events depicted in his most famous feature film as an actor.

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