Saturday, April 13, 2024

RIP The Great Norman Jewison, 97, Directed “Moonstruck,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Thomas Crown Affair”


Norman Jewison was one of the greats. A lovely guy, a gentleman, and an incredibly talented director. He died today at age 97.

Jewison, who was Canadian, directed a slew of hit movies including “Moonstruck,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Hurricane,” and two with Jane Fonda: “Rollerball” and “Agnes of God.”

He was a director’s director, his name was on every list for decades. “Can we get Norman Jewison?” was something heard in a lot of meetings in Hollywood.

“Moonstruck” was probably his high water mark, except that both “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “In the Heat of the Night” are also considered classics. He also made a cult hit with “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.”

This evening Lee Grant — who returned to Hollywood after more than a decade lost to the blacklist in “In the Heat of the Night” — Tweeted: “Norman Jewison is a giant and I am in his debt. He gave me back a career at the end of the blacklist. I doubt there has been a more versatile director before or since. A huge hearted man and truly unique talent. Nothing I say here can do him justice. But I can say ‘Thank You'”

What a life! What a career! Condolences to his family.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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