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David Susskind
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TV Personality
    (December 19, 1920-February 22, 1987)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Talk show host and producer
    Hosted the syndicated 'David Susskind Show' (1961-86)
    Produced TV adaptations of 'The Bridge of San Luis Rey' (1958), 'Hedda Gabbler' (1961), 'The Ages of Man' (1966), 'Death of a Salesman' (1966), 'Look Homeward, Angel' (1972), 'The Glass Menagerie' (1973) and 'Caesar and Cleopatra' (1976)
    Produced the TV movies 'Eleanor and Franklin' (1966) and 'Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years' (1977)
    First cousin of Norman Lear
    Inducted into the Television Hall of Fame (1988)
    He was a television producer who constantly bitched about the quality of TV, such as saying about Charlie's Angels, 'To watch such aimless drivel violates my code of morality.'
    Before his talk show was syndicated and had its length capped at two hours, it could last until the wee hours of the morning until the topic (or the host and guests) had been exhausted.
    He would often rub his guests the wrong way, producing moments like Tony Curtis threatening to punch him in the nose.
    After a high-profile interview of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, one critic wrote that Susskind had gone 'unarmed into a battle of wits.'
    He died of a heart attack the day before he was scheduled to check into a hospital.
    He was communications officer on a Navy attack transport during World War II and saw action in the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
    He produced the American television debut of Laurence Olivier, in an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 'Moon and Sixpence.' (1960)
    He had a mellifluous baritone voice.
    His show was known for addressing controversial issues.
    For instance, it was the first nationally broadcast show to feature guests speaking out against American involvement in the Vietnam War and guests speaking in favor of gay rights. (Not on the same episode.)

Credit: C. Fishel


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