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BIOGRAPHY

NORMAN JEWISON

Norman JewisonProducer | Director | Actor

Date of Birth 21 July 1926, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Birth Name Norman Frederick Jewison


Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and after moving to London, where he wrote scripts and acted for the BBC, he returned to Toronto and directed TV shows for the CBC (1952-1958), then musicals and variety in New York, before embarking on a film career. In 1986 he established the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies in Toronto.

Spouse (1)

Margaret Ann Dixon (11 July 1953 - 26 November 2004) (her death) (3 children)

Attended same east-end Toronto high school (Malvern Collegiate) as famed concert pianist Glenn Gould.
Father of associate producer and location manager Michael Jewison.
Father of camera-operator Kevin Jewison.
Father of actress Jennifer Jewison.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 479-483. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Had his own voice dubbed into Jesus Christ Superstar (1973); he's the Old Man in "Peter's Denial."
Directed 12 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Alan Arkin, Rod Steiger, Topol, Leonard Frey, Al Pacino, Adolph Caesar, Anne Bancroft, Meg Tilly, Cher, Vincent Gardenia, Olympia Dukakis, and Denzel Washington. Steiger, Dukakis and Cher won Oscars for their performances in the films in which Jewison directed them.
Directed the original versions of both Rollerball (1975) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). Both films were later remade by John McTiernan.
Member of the Jury for AFI Motion Pictures Awards 2005
The father of three children, Jewison hitchhiked across the Deep South region of the US at age 18; he was struck by its apartheid-like, strictly enforced racial segregation. He considers The Hurricane (1999) the last in a trilogy of racial injustice movies he's directed, the first two being In the Heat of the Night (1967) and A Soldier's Story (1984). Jewison cast a then-largely unknown Denzel Washington in A Soldier's Story (1984), then coupled him with Rod Steiger in The Hurricane (1999).
He was awarded the O.C. (Officer of the Order of Canada) on December 14, 1981 and the C.C. (Companion of the Order of Canada) on November 1, 1991 for his services to the film industry.
Was the original director of Malcolm X (1992), however had to withdraw from the project due to outside pressure demanding that the subject be made by a black film-maker.
Even though he was offended by it at first, A Clockwork Orange (1971) inspired him to make Rollerball (1975) a few years later.
Inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame in 1998 (charter member).
In his DVD Commentary for "In The Heat Of The Night", Jewison recalled that shortly before he began production, Jewison took his family on a ski trip in Colorado. His broke his leg and went to the hospital. While there, he met New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy who also had an injured child in the hospital from his own ski trip. In the waiting room, the two men struck up a conversation. When he mentioned to Kennedy the movie he was working on, RFK became excited and said "This could be an important picture. Timing is everything." (RFK was famous for his championing of Civil Rights in the 1960's) Later, after the movie was released, one of the first awards it won was the New York Film Critics Award for Best Picture. When Jewison went to the ceremony to receive his award, he was presented with his award by none other than Robert F. Kennedy. When he got to the stage to accept the award, Kennedy was smiling and saying "See? I told you! Timing was everything!".
Toronto, Ontario, Canada [July 2007]
(April 11, 1998) When Canadian Jewison's Best Director Oscar nomination for Moonstruck (1987) coincided with directors Adrian Lyne (UK) for Fatal Attraction (1987), John Boorman (UK) for Hope and Glory (1987), Lasse Hallström (Sweden) for My Life as a Dog (1985) and winner Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy) for The Last Emperor (1987), this was the only instance in Oscar history where all five Best Director nominees were non-Americans.