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Radio writer, director Norman Corwin dead at 101

/ Source: Reuters

Norman Corwin, the award-winning writer and director of golden-age radio plays who was also Oscar nominated for his work in films has died of natural causes at home in Los Angeles. He was 101.

Corwin died peacefully on Tuesday, according to a statement from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, where Corwin had been a writer-in-residence.

Known as the "radio's poet laureate," Corwin, who also enjoyed success as a journalist, playwright and producer, wrote and narrated a host of legendary radio programs which were often aired by the CBS Radio Network without commercial sponsors.

Author Ray Bradbury called Corwin "the best radio writer-producer-director in the whole history of radio," telling the Los Angeles Times in 2002 "There was no one like him. He dominated the field."

During radio's heyday, Corwin, who was born in Boston, presented now-classic works such as "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas" and "They Fly Through the Air," about the Spanish Civil War.

Among his more famous pieces was "On a Note of Triumph," which celebrated the Allied victory in Europe. Tens of millions of people listened at a time when radio was the country's chief news and entertainment outlet.

Corwin won a host of awards, from Emmys and Golden Globes to Peabody Medals and a duPont-Columbia honor.

In 1957 he was nominated for an Oscar for his adapted screenplay of "Lust for Life," the story of Vincent van Gogh and his friendship with Paul Gauguin, which starred Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn.

Other screenplays included "The Story of Ruth, "The Blue Veil" and "Madison Avenue."

Corwin hosted a 13-episode CBC television series in 1972 entitled "Norman Corwin Presents."

In the 1990s, Corwin returned to his radio roots, producing plays for National Public Radio.

He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993, and as late as 2001 NPR aired half a dozen new Corwin plays in a series "More by Corwin."

In 2006, a documentary about Corwin, "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin," won an Academy Award as best documentary short.

He is survived by two children, a son and a daughter.