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Norman Corwin: A Writer for the Ages

By Ruby Cemental

Norman Corwin was not one to let life pass him by. As one of the greatest writers of the English language, Corwin was called upon to do many things, and he committed to them with passion and gusto. Not the least impressive of his life was that he lived for over 100 years. Norman Corwin is a model for grabbing life and running with it no matter how many years one gets. 

Early Life

Corwin was born in Massachusetts in 1910, and 17 years later, lied about his age to get a job as a newspaper reporter. This determination was met with success as he eventually moved up to a lead writer, and in 1932, when approached by a radio station to prepare a nightly news report, he and his "pleasant baritone" were handed the job.

Writing Career

Dubbed the “poet laureate of radio,” Corwin's most prolific period of writing was in the 1930s and 40s, when he was well known for his historical dramatizations, including a docudrama called "We Hold These Truths" that was broadcast live from Hollywood and ended with a live speech from the White House by Franklin Delano Roosevelt resulting in Life magazine calling him “radio’s top dramatic genius.” 

Corwin, a liberal and FDR supporter, traveled to 17 countries in 1946 to document the postwar world. He kept a journal of the trip, but put it away in a drawer where it remained for decades. More than 60 years later, it was returned to and published to great acclaim.

Upon being inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994 after a long career, Ray Bradbury, a longtime friend of Corwin's, said about him that "he is the best radio writer-producer-director in the whole history of radio. There is and will be no one like him. He dominated the field." This "domination" carried through to his teaching, as well, in that he taught at USC in the School of Journalism all the way until his 100th birthday.

Later Life

He continued to write in his later years and stayed true to his convictions for his whole life. Larry King said that "when radio was king, Norman Corwin was its prime minister." To have as many accolades as Corwin did throughout his entire, long life says everything about the sort of man he was.  

For more Caring Senior Service's inspirational stories on the aging pioneers of our day or for aging resources, please contact us.

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Tags: Golden Inspirations

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