Philip “Phil” Newton Cook was 88 when he passed on August 26, 2023. Despite being in pain, he was always optimistic and would tell everyone at his assisted living, “I’m great!” when they’d ask how he was doing.
Phil was born in Los Angeles, California on January 23, 1935. He was student body president his senior year at North Hollywood High School and was a member of the SAE fraternity while attending UCLA. He graduated with a BS in Business, served his country for two years in the National Guard, and went on to follow his father’s footsteps in “show business,” as he always called it. Phil received the Director’s Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Specials/Movies for TV twice during his career, once for Rich Man Poor Man in 1972 and again for Shogun in 1981. He worked on many shows as a First Assistant Director and Unit Production Manager; these include FBI, Dan August, Columbo, Rich Man Poor Man, Shogun, Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, and Perry Mason Mysteries, just to name a few. While attending movies with his kids, they remember always having to stay till the credits were over so he could see who in the crew he knew.
Phil was preceded in death by his brother, Perry. He is survived by his children, Michael and Debbi; son-in-law, Bryan; grandkids, Tyler and Isabella; sister-in-law, Evelyn; and first wife, Gini.
Phil lived in Los Angeles until he moved to Virginia last year to be close to family. Throughout his life, he loved watching football (it didn’t matter who was playing unless it was UCLA!), spending time with his family, gardening, and being outside. When Debbi was getting his house ready to sell, one woman told Debbi her favorite memory while living on their street was walking by his house, and he would always be sitting on the porch and waved to her.
Most recently, Phil looked forward to going out to eat once a week with family, having a Coors Light, and playing BINGO every Thursday with Gini. He kept his sense of humor right up till the end when he told Debbi’s friend upon meeting her that they should just shake hands and not hug; otherwise, she’d fall in love.