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Norman Corwin

Norman Lewis Corwin (May 3, 1910 – October 18, 2011) was an American writer, screenwriter, producer, essayist and teacher of journalism and writing. His earliest and biggest successes were in the writing and directing of radio drama during the 1930s and 1940s.

Corwin was among the first producers to regularly use entertainment – even light entertainment – to tackle serious social issues. In this area, he was a peer of Orson Welles and William N. Robson, and an inspiration to other later radio/TV writers such as Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Norman Lear, J. Michael Straczynski and Yuri Rasovsky. His work was very influential on successful creative and performing artists, including Ray Bradbury, Charles Kuralt, The Firesign Theatre, Robert Altman, and Robin Williams among many others.

He was born to Samuel and Rose Corwin in Boston, Massachusetts. A major figure during the Golden Age of Radio, his work was very influential both at the time and later. He has been called "The Grand Master Of American Audio Theatre." During the 1930s and 1940s he was a writer and producer of many radio programs in many genres: history, biography, fantasy, fiction, poetry and drama. He was the writer and creator of series such as The Columbia Workshop, 13 By Corwin, 26 By Corwin and others. After leaving the CBS Network, he was Head of Special Media Programming for the United Nations in the early 1950s, producing radio programs explaining the U.N.'s organization and goals, and documenting some of its efforts worldwide. He was a lecturer in Journalism at the University of Southern California until he was 97.

Corwin won a One World Award, two Peabody Medals, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a duPont-Columbia Award; he was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay for Lust for Life (1956). On May 12, 1990, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln College. In 1996, he received the Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from California Lutheran University. Corwin was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.

A documentary film on Corwin's life, A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Feature) in 2006. Les Guthman's feature documentary on Mr. Corwin's career, Corwin aired on PBS in the 1990s. He was inducted into the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Diamond Circle in 1994.

On Corwin's 100th Birthday, the Writers Guild Of America West gave him a "Gala" in Hollywood, which was hosted by Leonard Maltin and featured live performances of two of his favorite works and birthday speeches and reminiscences by many people, including Carl Reiner, Hal Kanter, William Shatner, and others. On that occasion, the National Audio Theatre Festival organization announced the creation of the Norman Corwin Award for Excellence in Audio Theatre, which is given annually to an individual or group who have made significant contributions to the art form in the United States.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 3, 1910 (Boston), Died October 18, 2011 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1939 - 1944

Roles Represented in DAHR: director, arranger

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-036886 10-in. 5/11/1939 Daniel The Koralites Dramatic scene arranger  
Victor BS-036891 10-in. 5/11/1939 The pobble The Koralites Dramatic scene arranger  
Decca 71967 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 3 Burl Ives director  
Decca 71968 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 6 Burl Ives director  
Decca 71969 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 1 Burl Ives director  
Decca 71970 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 2 Burl Ives director  
Decca 71971 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 4 Burl Ives director  
Decca 71972 4/10/1944 The lonesome train: Part 5 Burl Ives director  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Corwin, Norman," accessed June 20, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101936.

Corwin, Norman. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101936.

"Corwin, Norman." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 20 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101936

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