CBS Exec veteran producer was 86 – The Hollywood Reporter


Norman S. Powell, the two-time Emmy nominated producer who has worked on shows such as Dick Van Dyke’s new show and 24 and, as a longtime CBS executive, gave the green light to a pilot project to Cagney & Lacey, is dead. He was 86 years old.

Powell, the son of actors Joan Blondell and Dick Powell, died of acute respiratory failure on Wednesday, a publicist said.

Powell won his Emmy nominations for the production of the 1977 ABC miniseries Washington behind closed doors and for guiding the second season (2002-03) of the drama Fox 24, with Kiefer Sutherland.

During his 13-year tenure as an executive with CBS, Powell rose to senior vice president of the network’s Entertainment Productions division and oversaw the development and production of over 80 TV movies and 11 series.

Among the programs and telefilms produced under his direction was the 1981 pilot for Cagney & Lacey, with Tyne Daly and Loretta Swit (before the arrival of Sharon Gless); the 1989-96 reality show Save 911; the 1989 TV movie Unbeaten, with Peter Coyote and Dermot Mulroney; the 1990 tv movie Miraculous landing, with Wayne Rogers; the 1989 pilot for Wolf, with Jack Scalia; a restart fuzzy area in 1985; and the 1981 TV movie Escape from Iran: the Canadian caper, written by Lionel Chetwynd.

Norman Scott Barnes was born in Hollywood on November 2, 1934. His father was director of photography George Barnes, an eight-time Oscar nominee. After his father and Blondell divorced in 1936, he was adopted by Dick Powell, the actress’ second husband, in 1938.

Norman Powell graduated from Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and Cornell University, then worked as a production manager from the late 1950s on television westerns such as Wanted dead or alive, Gun smoke and The rifleman.

His other production credits included series such as CBS ‘ Dick Van Dyke’s new show; TNT The Lazarus man, with Robert Urich; CBS ‘ Orleans, with Larry Hagman; and AMC The Lot, with Holland Taylor; and TV movies like the years 1978 More than friends, with Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall; the years 1995 Condemn Cowboy, with Jon Voight; and 1995 Black fox, with Christopher Reeve.

Powell produced and directed the 2003 feature documentary American value, a look at the heroes who received the Medal of Honor.

He also produced the years 2002 Darkness at Noon: The Documents of Carl Foreman in partnership with Chetwynd, with whom he will create more than 12 hours of the documentary series National office.

At the time of his death, Powell was working on a sequel to his 2009 Samuel Goldwyn-Showtime documentary Brothers at war with his partner Jake Rademacher and executive producers Gary Sinise and Phil Gurin. He was also writing a memoir.

Powell was a longtime member of the DGA and an active member of the Producers, Writers and Directors Caucus, of which he served as chair for two terms. He was a recipient of the Caucus’s Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Survivors include his wife, Ellen Levine, and their son Matthew; her children from her first marriage, Sandra and Scott; his daughter-in-law. Laurie; his sister, Ellen; her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Lisa and Kenneth; and two great-grandchildren.

Donations in his memory can be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation or the Caucus Foundation.


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