Gary Shimokawa spent the first years of his life in Manzanar, the Japanese Internment Camp established in California following the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. After the war, his family returned to Los Angeles. Upon graduating from the University of Southern California, Shimokawa found employment on several newspapers, then local television news before landing a job as stage manager on All in the Family. He soon found himself at the forefront of television entertainment, working on Norman Lear productions and learning the craft of directing television from renowned practitioners like John Rich, Paul Bogart, and Bob LaHendro. He went on to work on Good Times, Night Court, and The Golden Girls as an associate director.
Shimokawa alternated between stage managing and associate directing, then began directing episodes of his own, beginning with shows like Alice and Welcome Back Kotter. He also worked on children’s television shows such as Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved by The Bell, ALF, and Sister, Sister. Shimokawa also directed episodes of Night Court, Golden Girls, and the All in the Family spin off, Archie Bunker’s Place. More recently, he has directed episodes of Coach, Reba, Titus, and One on One.
In 1986 and 1987, for his work as an associate director on The Golden Girls, Shimokawa shared two Directors Guild Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series. Shimokawa served on the DGA’s Western AD/SM/PA Council from 1975-77.