Peter Hunt, Director of Stage and Screen 1776, Dies at 81

Hunt served as artistic director of Williamstown Theatre Festival from 1989-95.

Peter Hunt
Peter Hunt
(image via

Peter H. Hunt, the Tony-winning director of the stage and screen versions of 1776, has died of Parkinson's disease at the age of 81.

Hunt began his career as a lighting designer at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1958. He contributed to more than 200 productions at the Berkshires-based festival as designer, director, and actor, serving as its artistic director from 1989-95.

Hunt designed lights for several Broadway productions including the 1966 revival of Annie Get Your Gun, starring Ethel Merman. He won a Tony for his Broadway directorial debut, Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards's 1776, and would go on to stage the show in London and bring it to the big screen in 1972. He also directed the musical at Williamstown in 1991.

On Broadway, Hunt subsequently directed Georgy, Scratch, Goodtime Charley with Joel Grey and Ann Reinking, Bully, and the first iteration of Frank Wildhorn's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

For the screen, Hunt directed episodes of Baywatch, Touched by an Angel, four TV movies based on the Hart to Hart series, and, for PBS, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi.

He is survived by wife, Barbette Huntson Max, daughters Daisy and Amy, and brother George. Hunt's late half-brother, director Gordon Hunt, was the father of Oscar winner Helen Hunt.