Radio giant Norman Corwin dies in Calif. at 101

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In the mid-1950s, Corwin turned to television and film.

He wrote the first and final programs of a 26-part portrait of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, titled “FDR,” that aired on the ABC television network in 1963. A year later, he scripted a 90-minute examination of Hollywood for NBC titled “Inside the Movie Kingdom.”

Corwin wrote at least 19 books and several stage plays, including “The Odyssey of Runyan Jones.” He received numerous awards in media and the humanities, including two Peabody medals. In 1993, he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Corwin joined the USC faculty in the late 1970s and remained a writer-in-residence at the time of his death. He often bemoaned the current state of commercial radio broadcasting.

“Today there is a plethora of a kind of radio that is very inexpensive to produce, talking heads,” he said in a 2001 interview with Atlantic Public Media. “We are not commemorating and celebrating the great events.”

Corwin’s innovative work was introduced to a new generation in the mid-1990s on National Public Radio. A series titled “13 by Corwin,” a selection of his programs from the 1940s, was digitally remastered and distributed in 1996 as part of the NPR Playhouse series.

Corwin greeted the new century with “Memos to a New Millennium,” narrated by Walter Cronkite and broadcast on public radio. In a January 2000 interview, Corwin spoke of his optimism for the next 1,000 years.

“As long as there is room for compassion in this world, we need not despair,” he said.

Born May 3, 1910, in Boston, Corwin began his career immediately after high school as a reporter for The Greenfield Daily Recorder newspaper in Massachusetts before turning to radio.

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