Hal Cooper has directed over 40 television series, many of which he wrote and produced, as well. He started out in show business as a child actor on radio, and got his first chance to direct at the early age of 13 on the set of the radio program Rainbow House. After serving in the Navy in WWII, he completed college and moved to New York, where he developed, wrote and produced many of the early live television shows, includingYour School Reporter, TV Baby Sitter, and Magic Cottage. He also directed daytime series like Search for Tomorrow, For Better or Worse, The Clear Horizon, and the game show Surprise Package.
He went on to direct many popular and critically acclaimed episodic comedies such as The Dick Van Dyke Show; I Dream of Jeannie; Mayberry R.F.D.; All in the Family; The Brady Bunch; Sanford and Son; The Courtship of Eddie's Father; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; The Odd Couple; and The Powers That Be, as well as Maude, Gimme a Break!, and Empty Nest (all three of which he produced). He was a three-time DGA Award nominee in 1973, 1975 and 1976, as well as a two-time Emmy nominee in 1976 and 1978, for his direction of Maude.
Cooper served 12 terms on the National Board, including as Secretary from 1981-1983. He also served on the Western Directors Council for six terms and on the Guild’s Negotiating Committee, and he was a member of the DGA Task Force on Social Responsibility and co-chaired the Guild's Residuals Study Committee. Cooper served as a trustee of the DGA-Producer Pension and Health Plans for a decade and as the DGA representative on the Ratings Monitoring Board. At the time of his passing, Cooper was a trustee of the Directors Guild Foundation, where he had served for multiple consecutive terms.