Norman Corwin, Iconic Figure in Radio Who Later Turned to Television and Film
Corwin's productions devoted to World War II and other U.S. history topics are considered some of the finest ever made.
Norman Corwin, a towering figure in the Golden Age of Radio whose programs chronicling World War II are regarded as milestones in broadcasting, died October 18, 2012, at his Los Angeles home. He was 101.
According to news reports, Corwin died of natural causes.
Corwin, who until his passing was a writer in residence at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, was a prominent media figure for more than 70 years. During that time, he wrote, produced and directed for radio, television, film and the stage.
The following assessment of his career is posted at his official website, http://normancorwin.com:
Norman Corwin was one of the greatest writers in the English language, and has been called America’s “poet laureate of radio.”
During the 1930s and 40s, he wrote and produced many of the most powerful, most influential, and simply the best programs ever created for the media. When President Roosevelt wanted to celebrate the Bill of Rights, as World War II engulfed the globe, Norman Corwin got the call. When time came to celebrate and reflect on Victory in Europe — and again in the Pacific — Norman Corwin was the obvious choice.
Corwin’s programs range far and wide through the genres of drama and comedy, including love stories, satire, biography, fantasy, mystery, Bible stories, travelogues, history, media analyses, philosophy — and more. All, along with his programs on current events and the stories of America, are superb examples of the art. Together, they are a master class in how to evoke the greatest possibilities of sound, and of radio.
Over the years, he has worked in various media, publishing a number of books, and writing for the stage, television, and the movies. His books include Trivializing America, and Holes in a Stained Glass Window, as well as his collected correspondence, and many books of his scripts and poetry. His movie script for Lust For Life, a biography of painter Vincent Van Gogh, won him an Oscar nomination. His television credits include his 1971 series Norman Corwin Presents.
Corwin returned triumphantly to radio in the 1990s, with a series of new programs written and directed for National Public Radio. These new productions are destined as well to be considered audio theatre classics, produced in full digital stereo with magnificent modern casts, including such luminaries as William Shatner, Jack Lemmon, Charles Kuralt, Martin Landau, Hume Cronyn, Charles Durning, Samantha Eggar and many others.
The University of Southern California posted a tribute to Corwin here.
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