Rod Serling

On this date in 1924, Rodman Serling was born in Syracuse, N.Y. Serling enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, but was discharged in 1945 after being badly wounded, an experience which influenced his later screenplays. He went on to graduate from Antioch College in 1950 with a B.A. in English literature and drama, where he began writing scripts for radio programs. Serling soon became a television writer whose first television drama, “Patterns” (1955), won him an Emmy in 1955. His later work was equally successful: Serling was awarded two more Emmys in 1956 and 1959, for “Requiem for a Heavyweight” (1956), which was adapted into a film in 1962, and “The Comedian” (1957), both episodes of the show “Playhouse 90.” However, Serling is most famous for hosting the classic television show “The Twilight Zone” (1959–1964), as well as writing 92 of its 156 scripts. Serling was passionate about social issues, opposing racism and capital punishment, and he often addressed these controversial topics in scripts for “The Twilight Zone.” Serling won two more Emmy Awards in 1960 and 1961 for outstanding writing in drama for his work on “The Twilight Zone,” as well as a 1963 Golden Globe Award for best television producer. His other work includes writing the script for the films “Planet of the Apes” (1968) and “The Yellow Canary” (1963).

According to the biography In The Zone: The Twilight World of Rod Serling (1997), Serling was raised Jewish, but later joined a Unitarian Universalist church. He married Carolyn Kramer, also a Unitarian Universalist, in 1948, and had two children, Jody and Nan. D. 1975

“Theologically speaking, Rod was what we call a naturalistic humanist, and that was the underlying philosophy of my pulpit. Racial issues, class, power—you find all of these in his writings, and he found reinforcements for his viewpoints in his congregation.”

—Rev. Ernest Pipes of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, California, which Serling attended (quoted in a Nov. 1, 2007 article on www.uuworld.org).

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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