Oscar Nominated Director Norman Jewison Dies at 97 | Playbill

Obituaries Oscar Nominated Director Norman Jewison Dies at 97

Mr. Jewison brought both Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar to the big screen.

Seven-time Oscar nominated director Norman Jewison died January 20. Mr. Jewison was 97.

Hailing from Toronto, Mr. Jewison got his start directing a wide variety of musicals, variety shows, dramas, and specials for CBC Television, including The Big Revue, Showtime, and The Barris Beat. In 1958, he was recruited by NBC to come to New York to produce Your Hit Parade and The Andy Williams Show, two landmark successes that led to Mr. Jewison directing specials for Harry Belafonte, Jackie Gleason, and Danny Kaye. 

In 1961, Mr. Jewison directed Judy Garland's comeback special, leading to him serving as executive producer and an occasional director for The Judy Garland Show. On the big screen, he directed 40 Pounds of Trouble with Tony Curtis, which was the first motion picture ever filmed at Disneyland; The Thrill of It All starring Doris Day and James Garner; Send Me No Flowers starring Day and Rock Hudson; and In The Heat of the Night starring Sidney Poitier, which received 7 Oscar nominations, winning 5.

Mr. Jewison received numerous accolades for his film adaptations of Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar. Fiddler in particular became a breakout hit, winning three Oscars out of eight nominations, with Mr. Jewison receiving a nomination for Best Director. In spite of his last name and close association with Fiddler, Mr. Jewison was not Jewish himself.

On Broadway, Mr. Jewison came within an inch of directing Meredith Willson's musical version of Miracle on 34th Street, titled Here's Love. Featuring choreography by Michael Kidd, Mr. Jewison was replaced by producer Stuart Ostrow in rehearsals.

Mr. Jewison then returned to his film career, directing the beloved romantic dramedy Moonstruck before returning to his native Canada. Mr. Jewison never won a competitive Oscar, but received the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1999.

In 1986, Mr. Jewison created the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, which opened in 1988 as an advanced film school Toronto. Later renamed the Canadian Film Centre, the program has helped to incubate and encourage a wide array of Canadian actors, directors, screenwriters, composers, and media entrepreneurs.

In 1953, Mr. Jewison married Margaret Ann Dixon, who predeceased him in 2004. He later married Lynne St. David in 2010, who survives him, in addition to his three children from his first marriage, Kevin, Michael, and Jenny, as well as five grandchildren.

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