Shea directed popular sitcoms like "The Jeffersons" and was president of the Directors Guild of America for six years. Throughout his three terms as president, Shea pressed for diversity in hiring.
“The guild has always tried to do something about [gender and ethnic diversity] … when I joined the guild, the guild was all white, all male. But we now have a wide range of people in this group,” Shea once said.
Before his career began, Shea signed on for two years with the Air Force. He was stationed in Los Angeles and began to make instructional films for NBC's "Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse," including a lesson on proper tooth-brushing technique. From then on, he decided to make California his home.
Shea fell into the directing business by accident at 27, when he was asked to fill in for the director of the game show "Truth or Consequences." His career later led him to direct 110 episodes of "The Jeffersons" and 91 of "Silver Spoons." He also directed episodes of several other shows, including "Growing Pains," "Designing Women," "Sanford and Son" and "The Waltons."
Shea was nominated for two Emmy awards -- one for a Bob Hope Christmas production, which he directed for 10 years, and the other for an episode of "Designing Women."
Shea was said by peers to have a calm demeanor, even around the testiest actors, and a kind heart.