Television director Terrence O’Hara, known for his work on shows like NCIS, NCIS: LA, Smallville, and Angel, died on December 5. O’Hara was 76. Maddie, his daughter, confirmed her father’s death which was due to cancer.
“I never thought I’d be writing those words — it’s surreal,” she wrote. “I’ve always imagined him walking me down the aisle, watching his grandkids grow up, and getting old at the lake with my mom. But cancers a b***h, and his life was cut too short. He’s been quietly battling for the past 5 years, this whole time, directing, working, fighting, and smiling through it. He was famous for his infectious laugh, his noisy ass sneeze, his wild sailor mouth on set, his incredible, thoughtful, creative, and brilliant mind…I could go on.”
‘NCIS’ Director Terrence O’Hara Was Born On Christmas Day
Terrence O’Hara was born in Newark, New Jersey, on Christmas Day. He was a devoted father of three, a loving husband of 36 years, and a brother to six siblings he adored, Deadline reports. O’Hara attended St. Rose of Lima in Newark, K-8, and Essex Catholic for high school. While there, O’Hara challenged the Irish Christian Brothers. He questioned the Immaculate Conception, the parting of the Red Sea, and their harsh manner of teaching.
This would become a trait O’Hara would have to serve his inquisitive nature and quest for truth throughout his life. O’Hara was a member of the St. Rose of Lima Imperial Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps. But he would catch the acting bug while watching his sister Judy perform on stage at their high school.
O’Hara Met His Second Wife In Los Angeles
O’Hara of NCIS fame went to Rutgers University for two years. He headed to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He married Natalie when he was 23 years old and had a daughter, Stacey. O’Hara performed in Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, regional, repertory, dinner theaters, and bus & truck tours all across America.
But his father’s fatal car accident devastated Terrence. His marriage ended in divorce. O’Hara moved to Los Angeles in 1981, where he met Shanna. He applied to the American Film Institute as a Directing Fellow. At the time, fellowships were just for one year while a second year was by invitation only. O’Hara immersed himself and was invited for the second year.
For his work, O’Hara was best known for his directorial work on NCIS and NCIS: LA. He found a second home there. O’Hara is survived by his wife Shanna Reed O’Hara, children Stacey, Jon, and Maddie; sister Judy, brothers Steve and Chris; predeceased by sisters Melissa and Maureen, and brother Al. Also, his two grandchildren, Brian and Katherine; numerous beloved nieces and nephews; and Jesse, their 14-year-old Terrier mutt.