Jewison, Norman 1926–

views updated May 18 2018

Jewison, Norman 1926-


Full name, Norman Frederick Jewison; born July 21, 1926, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; son of Percy Joseph (manager of a general store and post office) and Dorothy Irene (maiden name, Weaver) Jewison; married Margaret Ann "Dixie" Dixon (a model), July 11, 1953 (died November 26, 2004); children: Kevin Jeffrie, Michael Philip, Jennifer Ann (an actress). Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1945; studied piano and music theory at Royal Conservatory. Avocational Interests: Skiing, yachting, tennis.


Office—Yorktown Productions, 18 Gloucester Lane, 4th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 1L5. Agent—Boaty Boatwright, International Creative Management, 10250 Constellation Way, 9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.


Director, producer, and executive. British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), London, worked as scriptwriter and television actor, c. 1950-52; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Toronto, Ontario, television director, 1953-58; Yorktown Productions, Toronto, president, producer, and director; also worked as stage director in New York City. Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, founder, 1986, cochair, 1986-91; Avoriaz Film Festival, president of jury, beginning 1981; American Film Institute, member of award duty, 2005; Canada Arts Council, member. Institute for American Studies, Salzburg, Austria, faculty member, 1969. Cattle breeder near Toronto. Military service: Royal Canadian Navy, 1945-46.


Directors Guild of America.

Awards, Honors:

Canadian Liberty Award, 1958; Golden Laurel Award nomination, outstanding director, Producers Guild of America, 1966; Golden Globe Award, best motion picture comedy or musical, 1966, Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding direction of a motion picture, Academy Award nomination, best picture, and UN Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1967, all for The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming; Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe Award nomination, both best director, UN Award and Film Award nomination, best film from any source, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding direction of a motion picture, all 1968, for In the Heat of the Night; Golden Laurel Award, outstanding director, 1968; nomination for Golden Laurel Award, outstanding producer-director, 1970; Academy Award nominations, best picture and best director, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best director, all 1972, for Fiddler on the Roof; David di Donatello Award, best foreign film, 1974, for Jesus Christ Superstar; named director of the year, National Association of Theatre Owners, 1982; decorated companion, Order of Canada, 1982; honored by American Civil Liberties Union of California, 1984; Golden Prize, Moscow International Film Festival, Academy Award nomination (with others), best picture, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding direction of a motion picture, all 1985, for A Soldier's Story; Lifetime Achievement Award, Canada-California Chamber of Commerce, 1986; Golden Globe Award nomination, best film, Academy Award nominations, best director and best picture (with Patrick J. Palmer), Silver Berlin Bear, best director, and nomination for Golden Berlin Bear, both Berlin International Film Festival, all 1988, for Moonstruck; Genie Award for special achievement, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, 1988; named filmmaker of the year, Motion Picture Bookers Club, 1991; Art Directors Guild Award, contribution to cinematic imagery, 1998; Hollywood Discovery Award, outstanding achievement in directing, Hollywood Film Festival, 1998; lifetime achievement award, Canadian Film Centre, 1998; Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1999; lifetime achievement award, Camerimage, 1999; George Eastman Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Art of Film, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, 1999; President Award, Robert Wise Director of Distinction, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, 1999; Golden Globe Award nomination, best director, Guild of German Art House Cinemas Award and nomination for Golden Berlin Bear, both Berlin International Film Festival, and nomination for motion picture producer of the year (with others), Golden Laurel Awards, Producers Guild of America, all 2000, for The Hurricane; Taormina Arte Award, Taormina International Film Festival, 2000; Opus Award, Film and Television Music Awards, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, 2001; Award of Excellence, Banff Television Festival, 2001; Daytime Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding children's special, 2002, for Walter and Henry; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding movie made for television, 2002, for Dinner with Friends; lifetime achievement award, Directors Guild of Canada, 2002; Billy Wilder Award, National Board of Review, 2003; Board of the Governors Award, American Society of Cinematographers, 2003; honorary degrees include LL.D. from University of Western Ontario, 1984, Trent University, 1985, and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, 1986; also received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Film Director:

The Fabulous Fifties, 1960.

40 Pounds of Trouble, Universal, 1962.

The Thrill of It All, Universal, 1963.

Send Me No Flowers, Universal, 1964.

The Art of Love, Universal, 1965.

(And producer) The Cincinnati Kid, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1965.

(And producer) The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, United Artists, 1966.

In the Heat of the Night, United Artists, 1967.

(And producer) The Thomas Crown Affair (also known as The Crown Caper and Thomas Crown and Company), United Artists, 1968.

(And producer) Gaily, Gaily (also known as Chicago, Chicago), United Artists, 1969.

(And producer) Fiddler on the Roof, United Artists, 1971.

(And producer; with Patrick Palmer), Billy Two Hats (also known as The Lady and the Outlaw), United Artists, 1973.

(And producer; with Robert Stigwood) Jesus Christ Superstar, Universal, 1973.

(And producer) Rollerball, United Artists, 1975.

(And executive producer) F.I.S.T., United Artists, 1978.

(And producer; with Palmer) … And Justice for All, Columbia, 1979.

(And producer; with Palmer) Best Friends, Warner Bros., 1982.

(And producer; with Palmer and Ronald L. Schwary) A Soldier's Story, Columbia, 1984.

(And producer; with Palmer) Agnes of God, Columbia, 1985.

(And producer; with Palmer) Moonstruck, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1987.

(And producer) In Country, Warner Bros., 1989.

(And producer) Other People's Money (also known as Requeza ajena), Warner Bros., 1991.

(And producer) Only You (also known as Just Him and Just in Time), TriStar, 1994.

(And producer) Bogus, Warner Bros., 1996.

(And producer) The Hurricane, Universal, 1999.

(And producer) The Statement (also known as Crimes contre l'humanite), Sony Pictures Classics, 2003.

Film Producer:

The Landlord, United Artists, 1970.

Executive producer, The Dogs of War, United Artists, 1981.

Iceman, Universal, 1984.

The January Man, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1989.

Executive producer, Dance Me Outside, Shadow Distribution, 1994.

Film Appearances:

(Uncredited) Joe Podge, Canadian Pacific, 1949.

Norman Jewison, Filmmaker, 1971.

Voice of old man, "Peter's Denial," Jesus Christ Superstar, Universal, 1973.

Narrator, From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle, 1975.

Fraulein Berlin, 1982.

The television director, The Stupids, New Line Cinema, 1996.

(Uncredited) Himself, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (also known as Burn Hollywood Burn), Buena Vista, 1997.

(Uncredited) Pitch, 1997.

The Man on Lincoln's Nose (documentary), 2000.

(Uncredited) Priest in black and white photo, The Statement (also known as Crimes contre l'humanite), Sony Pictures Classics, 2003.

Tell Them Who You Are (documentary), ThinkFilm, 2005.

The Last Illusion (short documentary), 2005.

Television Work; Series:

Producer, Let's See, 1952.

Producer, On Stage, 1954.

Producer and director, The Barris Beat, 1956.

Director, Your Hit Parade, 1958.

Director, The Adventures of Chich (also known as Uncle Chichimus), 1958.

Director, The Big Party (also known as The Big Party by Revlon), 1959.

Producer and director, The Judy Garland Show, CBS, 1963-64.

Executive producer, The Rez, CBC, 1996.

Also director of The Andy Williams Show, The Big Revue, and Wayne and Shuster.

Television Work; Specials:

Director, Tonight with Harry Belafonte, CBS, 1959.

Producer and director, The Secret World of Eddie Hodges, 1960.

Producer and director, The Broadway of Lerner and Loewe, 1962.

Producer and director, The Judy Garland Show (also known as Judy, Frank & Dean: The Legendary Concert), 1962.

Producer, The 53rd Annual Academy Awards, 1981.

Executive producer and director, Norman Jewison on Comedy in the 20th Century: Funny Is Money (also known as The 20th Century: Funny Is Money), 1999.

Executive producer, Walter and Henry, Showtime, 2001.

Also directed General Electric's Fiftieth Anniversary, as well as specials for Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Jackie Gleason.

Television Work; Movies:

Director, The Million Dollar Incident, 1961.

Executive producer, Geronimo, TNT, 1993.

Executive producer and director, Dinner with Friends, HBO, 2001.

Television Work; Miniseries:

Executive producer, Picture Windows (also known as Picture Windows: Language of the Heart), Showtime, 1995.

Director, "Soir Bleu," Pictures Windows (also known as Picture Windows: Language of the Heart), Showtime, 1995.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Steve McQueen: Man on the Edge, 1986.

(In archive footage) The 60th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1988.

Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema, Disney Channel, 1995.

Adrienne Clarkson Presents: A Tribute to Peppiatt & Aylesworth, Canada's First Television Comedy Team, 1996.

Sidney Poitier: The Defiant One, Arts and Entertainment, 1997.

"Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1997.

Steve McQueen: The King of Cool, AMC, 1998.

Margot Kidder: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1998.

Karl Malden: Workingman's Actor, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

The 71st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1999.

"Sidney Poitier: One Bright Light," American Masters, PBS, 2000.

Margot Kidder, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

The Inside Reel: Digital Filmmaking, PBS, 2001.

(Uncredited) Fiddler on the Roof: 30 Years of Tradition, TCM, 2001.

AFI's 100 Years … 100 Passions, CBS, 2002.

(Uncredited) Reel Radicals: The Sixties Revolution in Film, AMC, 2002.

The 100 Greatest Musicals, Channel 4, 2003.

"Judy Garland: By Myself," American Masters, PBS, 2004.

Edge The Art of Motion Picture Editing, 2004.

Comedy Gold, CBC,2005.

Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool, TNT and TCM, 2005.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 "Movie Quotes": The Greatest Lines from American Film, CBS, 2005.

Himself, The Passion: Films, Faith & Fury, Channel 4, 2006.

AFI's 100 Years … 100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies, CBS, 2006.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, Front Page Challenge, 1968.

Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 1996.

"The Life & Times of Norman Jewison," Life and Times, CBC, 1997.

The Directors, Encore, 1999.

"Rod Steiger," Bravo Profiles, Bravo, 2001.

"The Life and Times of Wayne & Shuster," Life and Times, CBC, 2002.

Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2005.

"Leading Man: The Life and Times of William Hutt," Life and Times, CBC, 2006.

Canada A.M. (also known as Canada A.M. Weekend), CTV, 2006.



The Directors: Norman Jewison, Media Entertainment, 1997.

Return to the Arena: The Making of "Rollerball," Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2000.

Spotlight on Location: Hurricane, Universal Studios Home Video, 2001.

Hal Ashby: A Man Out of Time, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2002.

Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.

Moonstruck: The Music of Moonstruck, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2006.



(With Melvyn Bragg) Jesus Christ Superstar, Universal, 1973.


This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me (autobiography), Key Porter Books, 2004.



International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, Volume 2: Directors, St. James Press, 1996.

Jewison, Norman, This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me, Key Porter Books, 2004.


Maclean's, February 21, 2000, p. 64.

New York Times, December 26, 1999, p. C1.

Variety, March 1, 1999, p. 50.


"The Life & Times of Norman Jewison," Life and Times (television series), CBC, 1997.

Jewison, Norman

views updated May 08 2018


Nationality: Canadian. Born: Toronto, Ontario, 21 July 1926. Education: Malvern Collegiate Institute; Victoria College, University of Toronto, B.A., 1945; studied piano and music theory at the Royal Conservatory. Military Service: Served in the Royal Canadian Navy. Family: Married Margaret Ann Dixon, 1953; two sons, one daughter. Career: Actor and scriptwriter in London, 1950–52; producer and director, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1953–58; director for CBS, New York, won several Emmy awards, 1958–61; moved to Hollywood, 1961; after directing first feature, 40 Pounds of Trouble, signed a seven-picture contract with Universal, 1963; executive producer, The Judy Garland Show, for television, 1963–64; moved to MGM for The Cincinnati Kid, 1965; moved to the top rank of Hollywood directors with the award-winning In the Heat of the Night, 1968; maintains an office in London and a residence in Malibu, but primarily works out of his native Toronto, where he is the founder and co-chairman of the Canadian Center for Advanced Film Studies. Awards: Best Picture Academy Award, Best Picture Golden Globe, British Academy Award UN Award, for In the Heat of the Night, 1968; Officer, Order of Canada, 1982; honored by the American Civil Liberties Union, 1984; Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear, for Moonstruck,

1988; Hollywood Film Festival Hollywood Discovery Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing, 1998; Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, 1999; Berlin Film Festival Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas, for The Hurricane, 1999; Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award, 1999; Honorary LL.D, University of Western Ontario. Addess: Yorktown Productions Ltd., 18 Glouster Lane, 4th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4X IL5, Canada.

Films as Director:


40 Pounds of Trouble


The Thrill of It All


Send Me No Flowers


The Art of Love; The Cincinnati Kid


The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (+ pr)


In the Heat of the Night


The Thomas Crown Affair (+ pr)


Gaily, Gaily (Chicago, Chicago) (+ pr)


Fiddler on the Roof (+ pr)


Jesus Christ Superstar (+ co-pr, co-sc)


Rollerball (+ pr)


F.I.S.T. (+ pr)


. . . And Justice for All (+ co-pr)


Best Friends (+ co-pr)


A Soldier's Story (+ co-pr)


Agnes of God (+ co-pr)


Moonstruck (+ co-pr)


In Country (+ co-pr)


Other People's Money (+ pr)


Only You (+ pr)


Bogus (+ pr)


The Hurricane (+ pr)

Other Films:


Canadian Pacific (Marin) (uncredited ro)


The Landlord (Ashby) (pr)


Billy Two Hats (Kotcheff) (co-pr)


The Dogs of War (Irvin) (exec pr)


Iceman (Schepisi) (co-pr)


January Man (O'Connor) (pr)


Dance Me Outside (McDonald) (co-exec pr); A Century of Cinema (Thomas) (doc) (interviewee)


The Stupids (Landis) (ro)


An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (Smithee, Hiller) (ro)


Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (Katz—for TV) (doc) (interviewee)


The Incredible Mr. Limpet (pr)


By JEWISON: articles—

"Norman Jewison Discusses Thematic Action in The CincinnatiKid," in Cinema (Beverly Hills), July/August 1965.

"Turning on in Salzburg," in Action (Los Angeles), July/August 1969.

Interview in Directors at Work, edited by Bernard Kantor and others, New York, 1970.

Interview with Gordon Gow, in Films and Filming (London), January 1971.

Interview with C. Tadros, in Cinema Canada (Montreal), September 1985.

Interview in Premiere (New York), Autumn 1987.

Interview with L. Van Gelder, in New York Times, 11 December 1987.

Interview with T. Matthews, in Box Office (Hollywood), January 1988.

Interview with A. Hunter, in Films and Filming (London), April 1988.

On JEWISON: articles—

Carducci, M., "Norman Jewison Directs Rollerball," in Millimeter (New York), March 1975.

Mariani, John., "Norman Jewison Directs And Justice for All," in Millimeter (New York), October 1979.

Robertson, R., "Motion Pictures: The Great American Backlot," in Millimeter (New York), February 1988.

Zarebski, K. J., "Wplyn ksie zyca," in Filmowy Serwis Prasowy (Warsaw), no. 9/10, 1989.

Pede, R., "Norman Jewison: Vietnam: verlies van onschuld," in Filmen Televisie + Video (Brussels), March 1990.

Rothstein, M., "In Middle America a Movie Finds Its Milieu," in New York Times, 6 March 1988.

Article in American Film (New York), July 1990.

Van Gelder, L., "At the Movies," in New York Times, 6 July 1990.

Lavoie, A., "Une certaine idee sur le cinema Canadien," in Cine-Bulles (Montreal), no. 4, 1991.

Greenberg, J., "The Controversy over Malcolm X," in New YorkTimes, 27 January 1991.

De Vries, H., "A Director's Story," in Premiere, November 1991.

Eller, C., "Money Maker Jewison at Work on a Walletful of Pix," in Variety (New York), 4 July 1991.

"Filmografie," in Segnocinema (Vicenza, Italy), March/April 1992.

Schwager, J., "A Little Romance," in Boxoffice (Chicago), April 1994.

Lally, K., "Veteran Director Jewison Returns to Romance," in FilmJournal (New York), September 1994.

Descamps, S., and J. Noel, "Bogus," in Les Cine-Fiches de GrandAngle (Mariembourg, Belgium), January 1997.

Weinraub, Bernard, "A Veteran Director Still Fights the Good Fight," in New York Times, 26 December 1999.

* * *

The very model of the modern up-market commercial director, Norman Jewison seems cut out to make the kind of prestige pictures once handled at MGM by Clarence Brown and Victor Fleming. No theme is so trashy or threadbare that he cannot elevate it by stylish technique and apt casting into a work of merit, even on occasion art.

Early work with an aging and cantankerous Judy Garland marked him as a man at ease with the cinema's sacred monsters; in the indifferent sex comedies of the early 1960s, he acquired equal skill with the pastels of Hollywood color and the demands of widescreen. A recognizable Jewison style was first evident in The Cincinnati Kid. Its elements—rich crimsons; the sheen of faces, tanned or sweating, in shadowed rooms; an edgy passion in performance—reappeared in In the Heat of the Night and The Thomas Crown Affair, novelettes redeemed by their visual flair and a sensual relish, not for sex, but for the appurtenances of power.

Not at home in domestic or comic realms, Jewison brought little to Ben Hecht's film memoir Gaily, Gaily, the literary ellipsis of The Landlord, or comedies like Best Friends. Two musicals, Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ, Superstar, did, however, offer an invitation to location-shooting and unconventional staging which Jewison confidently accepted. Though little liked on release, the latter shows a typical imagination and sensuality applied to the subject, which Jewison relocated in contemporary Israel to spectacular effect. Rollerball, his sole essay in science fiction, belongs with Thomas Crown in its relish for high life. The film's strength lies not in its portrayal of the eponymous gladiatorial game but its depiction of the dark glamour of life among the future power elite.

A pattern of one step forward, two steps backward, dominated Jewison's career into the 1980s. The Israel-shot western Billy Two Hats was a notable miscalculation, as was the Sylvester Stallone union melodrama F.I.S.T., a program picture that needed to be an epic to survive. He was on surer ground in . . . And Justice for All, a dark and sarcastic comedy/drama about the idiocy of the law, with a credible Al Pacino in command. But films like the post-Vietnam melodrama In Country did little to enhance his reputation. It is a cause for concern that he could never put together his projected musical remake of Grand Hotel, whose elements seem precisely those with which he works most surely. A taint of the high-class advertising lay-out characterizes Jewison's best work, just as the style and technique of that field rescues his often banal material.

Among Jewison's 1990s films are Other People's Money (about an all-consumingly greedy Wall Street type, a role tailor-made for Danny De Vito) and Only You (the story of an incurable romantic and her quest for true love)—both well-crafted and likeable but never truly memorable. The same might be said for 1988's Moonstruck, among the biggest hits of the latter stages of his career, a popular comedy of life among New York City's ethnic Italians. The film was a box-office smash and earned Cher an Academy Award. Yet while entertaining, on closer examination the film is all Hollywood gloss. It fails to authentically capture a true sense of its characters and their down-home ethnicity in a way that independent director Nancy Savoca, working on a minuscule budget compared to Jewison's, succeeds so brilliantly in doing in True Love and Household Saints.

Another project that Jewison had an interest in never came to fruition. The director originally had wanted to film an account of the life of Malcolm X, but he gave up the project upon Spike Lee's protestations that only a black filmmaker could do justice to the story. But Jewison did complete his trio of heartfelt, humanistic treatises on racism (following In the Heat of the Night and A Soldier's Story). At the tail end of the 1990s he made The Hurricane, the story of real-life middleweight boxing contender Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who was falsely convicted of committing a triple murder and spent years in prison before being exonerated. The film was well crafted and impeccably acted (particularly by Denzel Washington, playing Carter), but no sooner did it open theatrically than it earned condemnation for allegedly toying with the facts in the case. In The Hurricane, three Canadians are portrayed as being responsible for uncovering the evidence that cleared Carter, yet the real heroes actually were the boxer's lawyers. Former middleweight champ Joey Giardello sued the film's producers, claiming that his 1964 title bout with Carter was inaccurately portrayed on screen; according to the suit, the implication that Carter lost because of racial prejudice on the part of the judges was erroneous. These allegations led New York Daily News film critic Jack Mathews to remove The Hurricane from his 1999 Top Ten films list. Without doubt, the controversy obscured the film's high artistic merit—and may have prevented it from earning Best Picture and Best Director Academy Award nominations.

Beyond the contention surrounding The Hurricane, a cynic might condemn Jewison for the idealistic liberalism on view in In the Heat of the Night, A Soldier's Story, and The Hurricane. Yet it must be remembered that In the Heat of the Night, and its portrait of the professional respect that evolves between Rod Steiger's red-necked, small-town Southern sheriff and Sidney Poitier's Northern urban policeman, was made at a key juncture in the then-evolving civil rights movement. It is a courageous film for its time. And A Soldier's Story, a vivid adaptation of Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the murder of a black military officer in the 1940s, was made pre-Spike Lee, in the early 1980s, when precious few serious-minded films about the black-American experience were being produced in Hollywood.

—John Baxter, updated by Rob Edelman