John Erman got his start in the late '50s as an actor, taking bit parts in films, including "The Benny Goodman Story" with Steve Allen and Donna Reed. It was but a prelude to Erman's real calling--directing. He made his directorial debut in 1963, directing and producing an episode of the short-lived rodeo-themed series "Stoney Burke." He quickly followed this by directing single episodes of two of the better programs of the day: the sci-fi anthology show "The Outer Limits" and the popular suspense series "The Fugitive." Over the next 15 years, Erman would fill his directing resume with dozens of high-quality programs, including "My Favorite Martian," "Star Trek," and "M*A*S*H." His career would take a turn after he helmed the groundbreaking miniseries "Roots" in 1977. Adapted from the Alex Haley book about the lives of black American slaves, "Roots" was a runaway hit, receiving record-breaking Nielsen ratings and no less than 36 Emmy nominations. Afterwards, Erman would focus almost entirely on TV movies and miniseries, specializing in weighty subject matter and serious issues. He has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards but has taken home only one, for the 1983 TV movie "Who Will Love My Children" starring Ann-Margret. The Chicago-born director has also won awards from the Directors Guild of America for "Roots" and for "Early Frost," a 1985 drama starring Aidan Quinn as a young man with AIDS.