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Norman Jewison

Norman Jewison

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...And Justice For All DVD " and Justice for All" (1979) is a searing indictment of the justice system. Al... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Norman Frederick Jewison Died:
Born: July 21, 1926 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, Canada Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, actor, cabdriver, cattle breeder

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A consummate craftsman known for eliciting fine performances from his casts, Norman Jewison has addressed important social and political issues throughout his directing and producing career, often making controversial or complicated subjects accessible to mainstream audiences. Like so many of his peers, he got his start in TV, but unlike the ones who made their marks in the live dramas of the day (i.e., Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn, John Frankenheimer), Jewison's domain was the musical special. After serving in the Navy at the close of WWII and completing college in his native Canada, he moved to London in the early 1950s and finally broke into the business as an actor-writer with the BBC. An invitation to join a television training program at the CBC brought him home, where he rose rapidly and within a few years was directing and producing major variety programs (e.g., "Showtime", "The Big Revue"). CBS took note of his skills and hired him in 1958 to revitalize the live weekly music show "Your Hit Parade", and for the next four years, he solidified his reputation working with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Harry Belafonte. Disillusioned by the effects of the ratings wars...

A consummate craftsman known for eliciting fine performances from his casts, Norman Jewison has addressed important social and political issues throughout his directing and producing career, often making controversial or complicated subjects accessible to mainstream audiences. Like so many of his peers, he got his start in TV, but unlike the ones who made their marks in the live dramas of the day (i.e., Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn, John Frankenheimer), Jewison's domain was the musical special. After serving in the Navy at the close of WWII and completing college in his native Canada, he moved to London in the early 1950s and finally broke into the business as an actor-writer with the BBC. An invitation to join a television training program at the CBC brought him home, where he rose rapidly and within a few years was directing and producing major variety programs (e.g., "Showtime", "The Big Revue"). CBS took note of his skills and hired him in 1958 to revitalize the live weekly music show "Your Hit Parade", and for the next four years, he solidified his reputation working with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Harry Belafonte. Disillusioned by the effects of the ratings wars on the quality of TV programming, Jewison relocated from NYC to Hollywood to helm his first Hollywood feature, "40 Pounds of Trouble" (1963), starring Tony Curtis in an updating of the classic "Little Miss Marker" about a selfish casino manager who "adopts" a spunky orphaned waif. The picture did so well that Universal offered a seven-picture contract, and his second film, "The Thrill of It All" (1963, scripted by Carl Reiner), a vehicle for Doris Day and James Garner, became one of the studio's big moneymakers that year. Jewison also banged out "Send Me No Flowers" (1964), which paired Day with Rock Hudson, and reteamed with Reiner and Garner for "The Art of Love" (1965) but was growing tired of the lightweight scripts the studio was offering. Eager to delve into more serious fare, he found a loophole in his contract and switched to MGM, replacing Sam Peckinpah at the helm of "The Cincinnati Kid" (1965), a tale of professional gamblers starring Steve McQueen, with whom he would also make the sumptuous, no-think entertainment "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1968), a triumph of style over substance which he has called "the only amoral-immoral film I've ever done." Jewison achieved complete artistic control on "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" (1966) and has enjoyed the coveted final cut on every film since. A farcical take on the Cold War, it featured an all-star cast and scored pre-Glasnost points by emphasizing the shared humanity of Russians and Americans alike, earning its first-time feature producer an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. He followed its success with the gripping, pioneering civil rights drama "In the Heat of the Night" (1967), which boasted the dynamic pairing of Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger against the claustrophobic, small-town backdrop vividly photographed by Haskell Wexler. Despite losing head-to-head at the box office against "Bonnie and Clyde", it still managed to beat out the competition for Best Picture, in addition to garnering four other Oscars, including one for editor Hal Ashby. Jewison returned to comedy for "Gaily, Gaily" (1969), adapted from Ben Hecht's autobiographical novel of his apprenticeship on a Chicago paper, and though the expensive sets and period flavor evoked nostalgia, he fared better as producer of Ashby's feature directing debut, "The Landlord" (1970). Jewison's next two movies were adaptations of very successful stage musicals. For the first, "Fiddler on the Roof" (1971), he faced one of the most agonizing casting decisions of his career, turning down both Zero Mostel (who had originated the role of Tevye on Broadway) and his good friend Danny Kaye in favor of the little-known Topol. He told the LOS ANGELES TIMES (March 14, 1999), "I wanted an Israeli actor who didn't speak English very well to play this first-generation Russian Jew. I didn't think it would ring true with a New York Yiddish actor." Filmed on location in Yugoslavia, it received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, earned three, for Best Sound, Best cinematography (Oswald Morris) and Best Musical Scoring (John Williams) and raked in the profits. A similar commercial fate awaited "Jesus Christ Superstar", which he filmed in Israel while managing to simultaneously produce Ted Kotcheff's offbeat Western "Billy Two-Hats" (both 1973), proving his flexibility, if nothing else. The sci-fi drama "Rollerball" (1975) also pointed up his incredible versatility, earning somewhat of a cult following. Jewison's labor movement picture, "F.I.S.T" (1978), was a giant flop despite the director's careful attention to detail, and when he focused his attention on the legal system, not even a powerhouse performance by Al Pacino could overcome the weak script (by Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin) of "...And Justice for All" (1979), though it performed better commercially than had its predecessor. When he reteamed with Levinson and Curtin for "Best Friends" (1982), the picture failed to meet audience expectations for a Goldie Hawn-Burt Reynolds vehicle, resulting in tepid ticket sales. He finally turned it around with the socially conscious "A Soldier's Story" (1984), adapted from the 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Charles Fuller. A solid whodunit plus a probing look at racism within blank ranks during WWII, it featured most of its original Negro Ensemble Company cast, including Adolph Caesar in his Oscar-nominated role as the bigoted master sergeant found shot to death on a country road near a Louisiana army base. It also marked Jewison's first collaboration with Denzel Washington, as well as his return to the ranks of Oscar nominees (Best Picture). "A Soldier's Story" had not completely escaped its theatrical origins but was still a riveting picture. The same cannot be said for Jewison's next two stage-to-film transfers "Agnes of God" (1985) and "Other People's Money" (1991), with neither coming up to the level of its forerunner. In between, however, Jewison enjoyed a mighty box office at the helm of playwright John Patrick Shanley's original screenplay "Moonstruck" (1987), deftly handling the romantic comedy which won Oscars for Best Actress (Cher), Best Supporting Actress (Olympia Dukakis) and Best Screenplay (Shanley). "In Country" (1989), however, despite a fine performance by Bruce Willis as a cynical, shell-shocked recluse and beautifully-handled concluding scenes at the Washington (DC) Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was a disappointing treatment of Bobbie Ann Mason's acclaimed novel. Jewison reemerged from a three-year hiatus with the tepid romantic comedy "Only You" (1994), starring 1993 Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei as a bride-to-be who leaves her groom at the altar to search for her true soul mate (Robert Downey Jr.), followed by the treacly comedy-drama "Bogus" (1996), featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Gerard Depardieu in a story of a young boy's reliance on an imaginary friend to cope with the death of a parent. Jewison returned to TV as executive producer of the TNT biopic "Geronimo" (1993) and two years later served as an executive producer for Showtime's "Picture Windows" anthology, as well as directing its "Soir Bleu" segment. In Canada, he executive-produced Bruce McDonald's feature "Dance Me Outside" (1994) and then shared executive producing responsibilities with McDonald on the Canadian TV series "The Rez" in 1996. The 90s also found him acting in the Canadian picture "Harold Knows Best" (1995), playing a TV director in John Landis' "The Stupids" and appearing as himself in the satirical "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" (1997). On the heels of accepting the prestigious Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, he helmed the feature-length Showtime documentary "Norman Jewison on Comedy in the 20th Century: Funny Is Money" (1999), but the entire decade was just a prelude for "The Hurricane", released in the waning days of the 20th Century. Unleashing his social conscience on the film he had wanted to make for 10 years, he masterfully told the story of Reuben 'Hurricane' Carter (Denzel Washington), a former middleweight boxing champion unjustly imprisoned 19 years for murders he did not commit. A fabulous tribute to the power of the human spirit, it was arguably Jewison's best film in decades and possibly his best ever.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Statement, The (2003) Director
2.
  Dinner With Friends (2001) Director
3.
  Hurricane, The (1999) Director
4.
  Bogus (1996) Director
5.
  Only You (1994) Director
6.
  Other People's Money (1991) Director
7.
  In Country (1989) Director
8.
  Moonstruck (1987) Director
9.
  Agnes Of God (1985) Director
10.
  A Soldier's Story (1984) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Casting By (2013)
2.
 Tell Them Who You Are (2004) Cast
3.
 Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1997) Himself
4.
 Stupids, The (1996) Tv Director
5.
 Pitch, The (1996) Himself
6.
7.
9.
 Fraulein Berlin (1982)
10.
 Norman Jewison Film Maker (1971) Himself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1932:
Gave readings of poetry by Robert Service at various Masonic lodge meetings at age six (date approximate)
:
Served briefly in the Canadian navy at the end of WWII
:
After college, drove a cab to earn passage to England
1950:
Worked in England as actor-writer with BBC (dates approximate)
:
Returned to Canada to join the CBC's television training program, subsequently working with the network as producer-director
:
Began working for CBS in NYC, first revitalizing the "Your Hit Parade" show and then staging network specials like "Tonight with Belafonte" and "The Judy Garland Show" (directing and producing the special as well as producing the subsequent series)
1962:
Directed first film, "40 Pounds of Trouble"
1963:
Based on success of "40 Pounds of Trouble", signed by Universal Studios to a seven-picture deal of which only three were ultimately completed
1965:
After directing three "innocuous Hollywood comedies" ("The Thrill of It All" 1963, "Send Me No Flowers" 1964, "The Art of Love" 1965), found loophole in his contract and took over the direction of MGM's "The Cincinnati Kid" from Sam Peckinpah; first collaboration with actor Steve McQueen
1966:
First feature producing credit, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming"; also directed; garnered first Oscar nomination for Best Picture; initial collaboration with title designer Pablo Ferro
1967:
Helmed Academy Award-winning Best Picture "In the Heat of the Night"; received first Oscar nod for directing; also first collaboration with director of photography Haskell Wexler
1968:
Reteamed with McQueen and Wexler for "The Thomas Crown Affair"; checked out that year's Montreal Expo with Wexler and editor Hal Ashby and discovered a short film that introduced multiple screen effects, borrowing the technique for the film; Ferro created and edited the multiple screen effects including the use of 66 images in one frame for the polo sequence, reputedly a first for a 35mm feature
1970:
Depressed about the assasinations of the Reverend Martin Luther King and Robert F Kennedy, moved family to London for eight years
1970:
Produced Ashby's feature directing debut, "The Landlord"
1971:
First film adaptation of a successful stage musical, produced and directed "Fiddler on the Roof"; film received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director
1973:
Co-wrote screenplay (with Melvyn Bragg), produced and directed the film adaptation of "Jesus Christ Superstar", the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice pop opera
1975:
Helmed and produced the sci-fi thriller "Rollerball", scripted by William Harrison from his own short story
1979:
Teamed with screenwriters Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin for "...And Justice for All", starring Al Pacino
1982:
Reteamed with Levinson and Curtin for "Best Friends", a romantic comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn
1982:
Made an officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor-General, the Queen's representative in the Canadian capital of Ottawa; the Order is Canada's highest civilian decoration
1984:
Got career back on track with the popular and critical success of "A Soldier's Story", adapted by Charles Fuller from his Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Soldier's Play"; nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture; film featured Denzel Washington
1985:
Received much less praise for his next stage-to-film adaptation, "Agnes of God"; first feature filmed in his native Canada and initial collaboration with cinematographer Sven Nykvist
1987:
Had popular and critical success with the romantic comedy "Moonstruck", receiving Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations
:
Founded Yorktown Productions
1989:
Stumbled with "In Country", a poorly executed adaptation of Bobbie Ann Mason's acclaimed novel
1991:
Provided Danny De Vito with a great vehicle, "Other People's Money", though the movie lacked the bite of Jerry Sterner's off-Broadway play; third film with Wexler
1993:
Produced the TNT biopic "Geronimo"
1994:
Teamed with director of photography Sven Nyvist to provide a lush Italian backdrop for the far-fetched "Only You"
1995:
Directed "Soir Bleu" segment of Showtime's "Picture Windows" anthology; also served as an executive producer
1996:
Missed with pairing of Whoopi Goldberg and Gerard Depardieu in "Bogus"
1996:
Played a TV director in John Landis' "The Stupids"
1997:
Appeared as himself in "Burn, Hollywood, Burn"
1999:
Helmed and executive produced feature-length documentary, "Norman Jewison on Comedy in the 20th Century: Funny Is Money" (Showtime), using the hype surrounding the finale of the wildly successful series "Seinfeld" (NBC) as his launchpad
1999:
Produced and directed "Hurricane", starring Denzel Washington as Reuben 'Hurricane' Carter, the 1960s world middleweight boxing champion, unjustly convicted of the murder of three white men in a New Jersey bar
2001:
Directed the HBO adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play "Dinner With Friends"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Malvern Collegiate Institute: Toronto , Ontario - 1940 - 1944
Victoria College, University of Toronto: Toronto , Ontario - 1946 - 1950

Notes

Jewison became a decorated officer in the Order of Canada in 1982

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canada-California Chamber of Commerce in 1986.

Named "Filmmaker of the Year" by the Motion Picture Bookers in 1991

Embracing his ancestral occupation of farming, Jewison breeds cattle on his 200-acre farm outside Toronto.

Jewison was originally set to direct the biopic of slain activist Malcolm X until Spike Lee raised objections and eventually assumed the project.

He and his wife market "Norman & Dixie's Maple Syrup Ice Cream".

"My first film, '40 Pounds of Trouble', starring Tony Curtis, launched me as a motion picture director and I have remained in the industry ever since. Every film I make must have a raison d'etre, a reason for being there. As well as being an entertaining story it must have something valid to say about life, that reflects my own private fears or joy. Even though I now know it is a futile and impossible task, I still want to change the world. Well, a little bit!" --Norman Jewison, quoted in "World Film Directors, Volume Two", edited by John Wakeman (New York: The H W Wilson Company, 1988)

About Steve McQueen: "He was always looking for a father figure. And I said, 'I'm too young to be your father, but I'll be your older brother. And I'll be the brother that went to college who'll look out for you, OK?' He said, 'You're twisting my melon, man.'

"So he learned to trust me. And on 'Thomas Crown', I knew he wasn't that character, but he desperately had to play it, so he trusted me to guide him. He was absolutely believable. He never acted a day in his life; he just was. There was an honesty about him, and he knew where the camera was." --Jewison to Bill Desowitz in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, March 14, 1999

"All my life I've been seeking my own Jewishness. My family is originally from Yorkshire, which was a Jewish stronghold in England. I suspect we might have been assimilated from the 13th century." --Jewison quoted in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, March 14, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Margaret Ann Dixon. Model. Married on July 11, 1953.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Percy Joseph Jewison. Ran a dry goods store.
mother:
Dorothy Irene Jewison.
son:
Kevin Jeffrie Jewison. Camera operator. Has worked on father's films, as well as on films like "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) and "Dick" (1999).
son:
Michael Philip Jewison. Location manager, associate producer. Associate producer on four of father's films through "Hurricane" (1999); also served as post production supervisor on "Johnny Mnemonic" (1995).
daughter:
Jennifer Ann Jewison. Appeared as a Skier in father's "Best Friends".
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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