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Rod Serling Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (10) | Trivia (37) | Personal Quotes (17)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 25 December 1924Syracuse, New York, USA
Date of Death 28 June 1975Rochester, New York, USA  (complications arising from a coronary bypass operation)
Birth NameRodman Edward Serling
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (2)

John Phillips is the name used by longtime television and film writer Rod Serling when he asked that his real name be removed as the writer of the pilot episode of the series "The New People" in 1969. While Serling's name remained as series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC- TV's editing of the pilot-- it was cut from 52 to 45 minutes to fit into a 90 minute time slot, along with another series-- that he preferred to remove his name.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

A former boxer, paratrooper and general all-around angry young man, Rod Serling was one of the radical new voices that made the "Golden Age" of television. Long before The Twilight Zone (1959), he was known for writing such high-quality scripts as "Patterns" and "Requiem for a Heavyweight," both later turned into films (Patterns (1956) and Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)). Even The Twilight Zone (1959) featured forays into controversial grounds like racism, Cold War paranoia and the horrors of war. His maverick attitude eventually drove him from regular network television.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: James A. Wolf <jwolf@cybercom.net>

Spouse (1)

Carol Serling (31 July 1948 - 28 June 1975) (his death) (2 children)

Trade Mark (10)

Distinctive dramatic voice
Always wore a suit and tie when presenting his shows
Science-fiction/fantasy storylines
Brief summaries of stories at the start and a conclusion of the moral at the end
Frequent and effective use of twist endings
Distinctive clipped manner of speaking
His stories often reflect his staunch views against racism and war
His stories often reflect his liberal political views
His stories often show a dark side of humanity ruled by paranoia, hatred and ignorance
Short stature

Trivia (37)

Parents are Samuel Lawrence and Esther Serling.
Moved to Binghamton, New York at an early age, where he spent most of his youth.
Was a Communications professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
Born into a Reform Jewish family, he later became a Unitarian upon his marriage in 1948.
Suffered from combat-related flashbacks and insomnia.
Was an outspoken supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Military decorations from the Second World War include: World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Arrowhead Device), Good Conduct Medal, Phillippine Liberation Medal (with one bronze service star), Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin. Also retroactively authorized the Bronze Star Medal, based on receipt of the Combat Infantryman Badge during the Second World War.
Served in the United States Army, under the service number 32-738-306, from January 1943 to January 1946. Discharged in the rank of Technician 5th Grade (the equivalent of a Corporal) having served as an Infantry Combat Demolition Specialist and a Paratrooper.
Host of the syndicated radio show "The Zero Hour" (1973-1974).
Brother of writer/novelist Robert J. Serling.
Ranked #1 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (August 1, 2004 issue), the only real person on the list. All the others are television series characters.
On June 28, 1975, he was mowing his lawn, when all of a sudden, he began to experience some chest pains and collapsed. His neighbor found him and called the ambulance. When he arrived in the operating room, the doctors saw that the artery leading to his heart was disintegrating and there was no hope for him. He died later that day in the hospital.
He wanted Richard Egan to do the narration for The Twilight Zone (1959) because of his rich, deep voice. However, due to strict studio contracts of the time, Egan was unable to. Serling said "It's Richard Egan or no one. It's Richard Egan, or I'll do the thing myself," which is exactly what happened.
He owned a 1968 Glen Pray made replica of the 1937 Cord automobile. During the making of the game show Liar's Club (1969), he would go riding with friend and fellow actor and car enthusiast Tommy Bond, who played Butch in the Little Rascals series from the 1940s.
Started writing during World War II while recuperating from his injuries.
Attended and graduated from Binghamton High School in Binghamton, New York in 1943.
Towards the end of his career, he narrated several documentaries about sharks and other underwater life that were shown a great deal, at the time, in schools.
Following his sudden death, he was interred at Interlaken Cemetery in Interlaken, New York.
In 1994, 19 years after his death, he returned to "host" the pre-show area of "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. Through clever use of carefully edited vintage The Twilight Zone (1959) footage, new footage processed in black and white and special additional dialogue recorded by a Serling soundalike (reportedly selected personally by Serling's widow, Carol), Serling appears in a Twilight Zone episode based on the ride's storyline and introduces theme park visitors to the attraction. This brief introduction, which is shown on a special vintage television in the attraction's pre-show area, represents the first "new" introduction of The Twilight Zone that he appears in since the series' end in 1964.
His schoolteacher Helen Foley encouraged him in his writing and he always believed he owed his success to her. A schoolteacher in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) was named Helen Foley in her honor.
Along with many other famous faces, he was a pie-in-the-face recipient on The Soupy Sales Show (1959). Serling's turn came in 1962.
Robert Marshall Hosfeldt authored a 1961 MA Thesis at San Jose State College called "Analysis of the techniques and content of characterization in the Academy Award winning plays of Rod Serling." "Academy", in this case, referred to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
A news item in TV Guide the week of December 7, 1963 said that Serling would be visiting Hong Kong to film a television pilot called "Jeopardy Run".
In 1975, Serling had two severe heart attacks before entering Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for heart bypass surgery. He had a third heart attack during the operation and died the following day at age 50.
Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring The Twilight Zone (1959).
Is considered to be one of the most influential writers in television history and is credited with creating many storytelling methods still used today.
Father of Jodi Serling (born 1950) and Anne Serling (born 1955) with Carol Serling.
Was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.
Was the first major writer to have disputes with advertisers and executives.
He considered the season four episode "He's Alive" which examines the subject of Fascism, the most important episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) he ever wrote.
Out of the 92 The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes he wrote, his personal favorite was The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959). His favorite from an outside writer was The Twilight Zone: The Invaders (1961) by Richard Matheson.
He was credited as writer under the pseudonym "John Phillips" on the pilot episode of the television series The New People (1969). While Serling's name remained as the series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC-TV's editing of the pilot (it was cut from 52 to 45 minutes to fit into a 90 minute time slot along with another series) that he preferred to remove his real name. He possibly got this particular pseudonym from the novelist John Phillips (John Phillips Marquand, Jr.), whose only novel "The Second Happiest Day" was adapted to an episode of the television series Playhouse 90: The Second Happiest Day (1959) in 1959, for which series Serling had himself written a dozen episodes of prior to The Twilight Zone (1959).
Was friends with Star Trek (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry, who had the honor of reading the eulogy at Serling's funeral.
He usually dictated his scripts into a tape recorder and had his secretary type them up.
Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2008.
He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 6, 1988.

Personal Quotes (17)

Hollywood's a great place to live... if you're a grapefruit.
(on being born on Christmas Day, 1924) I was a Christmas present that was delivered unwrapped.
If you need drugs to be a good writer, you're not a good writer.
If you want to prove that God is not dead first prove that man is alive.
Being like everybody is the same as being nobody.
In my writing, I work with a secretary and a recorder. I dictate everything. It's a freewheeling thing. I act out all the parts. I do three or four drafts but by the time I get through with the second, things are pretty well set.
Writing is a demanding profession and a selfish one. And because it is selfish and demanding, because it is compulsive and exacting, I didn't embrace it. I succumbed to it.
[on expanding The Twilight Zone (1959) to an hour long format] In the half-hour form we depended heavily on the old O. Henry twist. So the only question is: Can we retain The Twilight Zone (1959) flavor in an hour? We may have to come up with something totally different.
[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] I guess a third of the shows have been pretty damn good. Another third would have been passable. Another third are dogs -- which I think is a little better batting average than the average show. But to be honest, it's not as good as we thought or expected it to be.
[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] It's not a monster rally or a spook show. There will be nothing formula'd in it, nothing telegraphed, nothing so nostalgically familiar than an audience can join the actors in duets. The Twilight Zone (1959) is what it implies: that shadowy are of the almost-but-not-quite; the unbelievable told in terms that can be believed.
[on hosting The Twilight Zone (1959)] There I am. Five feet five of solid gristle. I really don't like to do hosting. I do it by default. I have to. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't do it. I just tense up terribly before going before the cameras. It's an ordeal. If I had to go on "live," of course, I'd never do it. It's like boxing. I'm the only fighter in history who had to be carried both into and out of the ring.
[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] We want to prove that television, even in its half-hour form, can be both commercial and worthwhile. We want to tell stories that are different. At the same time, perhaps only as a side effect, a point can be made that the fresh and the untried can carry more infinite appeal than a palpable imitation of the already proved.
[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] Each story is complete in itself. This anthology series is not an assembly line operation. Each show is a carefully conceived and wrought piece of drama, cast with competent people, directed by creative, quality-conscious guys and shot with an eye toward mood and reality.
[on the near cancellation of The Twilight Zone (1959) during the latter half of the show's third season] Anybody would rather quit than get the boot. On the other hand, I am grateful. We had some great moments of vast excitement and, on occasion, achieved some real status. But now it's time to move on.
[to an interviewer during the third season of The Twilight Zone (1959)] I'm tired of it, as most people are when they do a series for three years. I was tired after the fourth show. It's been a good series. It's not been consistently good, but I don't know any one series that is consistently good when you shoot each episode in three days. We've been trying gradually to get away from the necessity of a gimmick, but the show has the stamp of the gimmick and it's hooked for now. It's tough to come up with them week after week.
I've had my moments of depression but I guess you'd say I'm a pretty contented guy.
Fame is short-lived. One year after this show [The Twilight Zone (1959)] goes off the air, they'll never remember who I am. And I don't care a bit. Anonymity is fine with me. My place is as a writer.

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