Rod Serling

On this date in 1924, Rodman Edward Serling was born in Syracuse, N.Y. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, served in the Philippines and Japan and was discharged in 1945. He went on to graduate from Antioch College in Ohio in 1950 with a B.A. in English literature and drama, where he began writing scripts for radio programs. He met Carolyn Kramer at Antioch in 1948 and they had two daughters, Jodi and Anne. He also joined a Unitarian church at Antioch.

Serling started working as a radio and television writer, eventually landing in New York City. “Kraft Television Theatre” aired Serling’s 72nd script, “Patterns,” in 1955 and it won him an Emmy. Two more Emmys soon followed, in 1956 for “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” which was adapted into a film in 1962, and “The Comedian” (1958), both episodes of the show “Playhouse 90.” Serling is most famous for hosting “The Twilight Zone” (1959–64), as well as writing 92 of its 156 scripts.

He was passionate about social issues, opposing war, 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), “The Yellow Canary” (1963) and “Seven Days in May” (1964). He hosted and contributed scripts to the series “Night Gallery” from 1970-73.

He was a heavy smoker and died at age 50 after his third heart attack. (D. 1975)

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