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Updated January 23rd, 2024 at 07:39 IST

Norman Jewison, Oscar-nominated director of In the Heat of the Night, dies aged 97

Oscar-nominated director Norman Jewison died at the age of 97 on Saturday, January 20. The information was made public by his publicist, Jeff Sanderson.

Norman Jewison
Norman Jewison | Image:AP
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The Canadian-born director Norman Jewison, whose Hollywood credits include social dramas like the Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night as well as the comedy Moonstruck, died at the age of 97. The information was made public by his publicist, Jeff Sanderson, who said the filmmaker took his last breath on Saturday, January 20. More information was not immediately accessible.

Norman Jewison's Oscar Run

He drew upon his experiences for 1967’s In the Heat of the Night, starring Rod Steiger as a white racist small-town sheriff and Sidney Poitier as a Black detective from Philadelphia trying to help solve a murder and eventually forming a working relationship with the hostile local lawman. Jewison’s production won the Academy Award for Best Picture while Steiger took home the Best Actor Oscar. (Jewison lost out for best director to Mike Nichols of The Graduate).

He received two other Oscar nominations: For Moonstruck, the beloved romantic comedy for which Cher won an Academy Award, and Fiddler on the Roof, the classic musical about a Jewish village in Russia that Jewison has said was offered to him under the mistaken belief he was Jewish. 

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Norman Jewison | Image: AP

 

His other notable films included the Cold War spoof The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, the Steve McQueen thriller The Thomas Crown Affair, and a pair of movies featuring Denzel Washington: the racial drama A Soldier’s Story and The Hurricane, starring Washington as wrongly imprisoned boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.

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Five Jewison films received the best Oscar nominations: In the Heat of the Night, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Fiddler On the Roof, Moonstruck, and A Soldier’s Story.

Norman Jewison's personal life

Jewison and his wife Margaret Ann Dixon (nicknamed Dixie) had three children, sons Kevin and Michael and daughter Jennifer Ann, who became an actress and appeared in the Jewison films Agnes of God and Best Friends. 

Norman Jewison is survived by his wife  Lynne St. David | Image: AP

 

The Jewisons were married for 51 years until she died in 2004. He married Lynne St. David in 2010. 

(with inputs from AP)

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Published January 23rd, 2024 at 07:23 IST

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