Bleckner’s 40-year career is a showcase of change and adaptability, beginning in the world of experimental New York Theater and moving to successful Movies for Television made in Hollywood. He became interested in theater at Amherst College, where he acted and discovered the craft of directing, and then went on to the Yale School of Drama, where he directed several well-received plays. He came to the attention of legendary New York theater figure and founder of The Public Theater Joseph Papp, who took Bleckner under his wing. Bleckner went on to direct multiple Off-Broadway plays for Sam Shepard and David Rabe, winning two Drama Desk Awards for the first two plays in Rabe’s Vietnam War Trilogy, The Basic Training of Pavlo Humel, and Sticks and Bones.
An interest in learning how to use cameras to tell stories led Bleckner to the Daytime Drama stages in New York for Another World and Guiding Light. Bleckner moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970’s while still directing plays, and he began to direct episodic television, including episodes for Welcome Back, Kotter, The Stockard Channing Show, Dynasty, Trapper John, M.D., Knots Landing, Hill Street Blues, and Mancuso, FBI. He transitioned again into Mini-Series and Movies for Television, directing films such as Concealed Enemies, Part I (1984), Serving In Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (1995), Rear Window (1998), The Beach Boys: An American Family (2000), and The Music Man (2003). He has returned to Episodic TV in the 2000’s, working on Hawthorne, Private Practice, Castle, and The Glades.
For his Directorial achievements, Bleckner has won two DGA Awards, and has been nominated three other times. He won the Dramatic Series category in 1984 for an episode of Hill Street Blues and in 2001 in Movies for Television for The Beach Boys: An American Family. He was nominated in 1985 in Dramatic Specials for Do You Remember Love, and in Movies for Television in 2004 for The Music Man, and again in 2012 for Beyond the Blackboard. Bleckner won two Emmy awards, in 1983 for an episode of Hill Street Blues, and in 1984 for the Mini-Series Concealed Enemies. He was nominated for five additional Emmys.