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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
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Radio Legend Norman Corwin Dies at Age 101

Corwin will be remembered Wednesday at USC, where he was a writer in residence.

Norman Lewis Corwin, a radio legend, died Tuesday at the age of 101 at his Los Angeles home, according to USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Norman Corwin helped bring the radio program to USC Annenberg. (Photo/Maggie Smith)
Norman Corwin helped bring the radio program to USC Annenberg. (Photo/Maggie Smith)
Corwin wrote, produced and directed for radio, television, film and stage during his more than 70 years in the industry. He was also a professor at USC's Annenberg School, where he remained a writer in residence until his death.

The Boston native began his career immediately after high school as a reporter for The Greenfield Daily Recorder newspaper in Massachusetts before turning to radio.

And radio turned out to be Corwin's true passion.

Throughout the 1940s, Americans depended on Corwin's radio broadcasting as their link to the world. He was a creative giant of the Golden Age of Radio and is famous for chronicling World War II to Americans at home. He is also known for developing variety shows, dramas, comedies and documentaries.

In 1938, Corwin joined CBS during the height of the network's glory. He broadcasted beside Edward R. Murrow and Howard K. Smith.

He started his career as the voice behind the microphone but eventually turned his effort to writing, producing and directing.

Some of his famous works included "We Hold These Truths," a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. This piece was eventually added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2005.

In 1945, he wrote "On a Note of Triumph," considered by many to be one of Corwin's greatest pieces. It was broadcasted across America on May 8, 1945, the day of the allied victory in Europe. A film about that broadcast won an Oscar for best short documentary in 2006.

Corwin shifted his focus to television and film in the mid-1950's.

His two most famous programs included "FDR" and "Inside the Movie Kingdom." His career included writing 19 books and several stage plays.

In 1993, Corwin was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. He also received numerous awards in media and the humanities, including two Peabody medals.

USC Annenberg Dan Ernest J. Wilson III called Corwin "a true legend."

"His insightful, inspiring body of work has been absorbed into the American consciousness," Wilson said. "He gave us the benefit of his knowledge, wit and keen observations through many decades, and he was a literary treasure."

Norman Corwin photgraphed at his desk.
Norman Corwin photgraphed at his desk.
Over three and a half decades, Corwin passed down to his students the values of integrity, empathy and excellence, Wilson said. "And even as the profession of journalism evolved, his contributions remained powerful and influential. USC Annenberg will proudly carry Norman’s legacy into the future."

Corwin joined USC Annenberg in 1974, to help add radio the school's journalism curriculum, with the help of Annenberg professor Joe Saltzman.

"When it came to radio, there was only one man in America I wanted to bring to USC and that was Norman Corwin," Saltzman said. "We met over lunch and an hour later, he became a member of our adjunct faculty and taught at USC for the next three decades. I used to sneak into his class just to listen to his lectures.

"Norman Corwin was the most articulate person I have ever met. He used language in a way so unique, so eloquent, so funny, so precise that it was just a pleasure to sit with him and listen to him talk about anything and everything, especially the people he knew from the famous to the infamous to the people he met on a daily basis."

Just last year, Corwin celebrated his 100th birthday at USC Annenberg.




Annenberg Celebrates Norman Corwin's 100th Birthday

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