James Frawley (b. 1937) is a veteran television and film director. As director of The Muppet Movie, he had the distinction of helming the first cinematic showcase for the Muppets.
In a 2007 interview, Frawley recalled how he got the job directing The Muppet Movie:
“Jim Henson had seen The Monkees and liked my work on that, and seen some other television that I had done. He knew that I had been an actor, and thought that I was the right combination for the Muppets. He flew me to London where they made The Muppet Show. We met, and we had an immediate connection...
Up until that time they had never shot film. They had only shot tape, and they had never shot outside the studio. So (Henson) knew that he needed somebody who was a filmmaker and knew what to do with the camera. And he felt pretty good about my sense of humor. It seemed like a good combinations of talents for his Muppets. I had a very childlike approach to my work, and the Muppets fit in well with that.”
Frawley's other credits as a film director included the disaster spoof The Big Bus (with Stockard Channing, Sally Kellerman, and Richard Mulligan) and The Christian Licorice Store. With the exception of the 1985 sex comedy Fraternity Vacation, his post-Muppet Movie work has been almost exclusively in television, and covered a wide range, from several installments of Columbo and Law & Order to the Ally McBeal pilot, Smallville, and Grey's Anatomy.