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Liebman, Max (05 August 1902–21 July 1981), stage and television director and producer, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Harry Liebman, a furrier, and Sarah Glazer. Brought to the United States as an infant, Liebman was raised in New York City, where his father entered the fur business. Liebman graduated in 1917 from Boys’ High School in Brooklyn, where he was a member of the drama club and the debate society. Following graduation, Liebman moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil fields and, for a short period of time, as a “front man” for a magician....

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Miner, Worthington (13 November 1900–11 December 1982), theater director and television producer, was born Worthington Coswell Miner in Buffalo, New York, the son of Worthington C. Miner, a lawyer, and Margaret Willard, a dressmaker. After interrupting his studies at Yale University to join the U.S. Army and serve in France and Germany during World War I, Miner graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Yale in 1922 and went to England to study at Cambridge University’s Magdalene College. “Had it not been for my two years at Magdalene College,” Miner reminisced in an interview with Franklin Schaffner, “my career in theatre would never have been. I might have become a teacher, I might have imported woolens and worsteds from Verviers, I might have built mousetraps, but I would never have known the feel or the smell of a Broadway stage.” After some work as a prompter and stage manager at a dramatic club in England, Miner decided to try his luck in New York, where he returned in late 1924....

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Montgomery, Robert (21 May 1904–27 September 1981), actor, director, and producer, was born Henry Montgomery, Jr., in Beacon, New York, the son of Mary Weed Bernard and Henry Montgomery, vice president of the New York Rubber Company. Montgomery attended private school until his father’s death in 1920, after which he supported the family by laboring in a railroad yard and later on an oil tanker. Montgomery first appeared on stage in New York in September 1924 as a butler in ...

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Rountree, Martha J. (23 October 1911–23 August 1999), radio and television producer, talk show moderator, and cocreator of Meet the Press, radio and television producer, talk show moderator, and cocreator of Meet the Press, was born in Gainesville, Florida, but raised in Columbia, South Carolina, the second oldest of five children of Earl Rountree, a salesman (at times he sold real estate, and at other times he sold cars), and Mary Jane Tennant Rountree. From the time she was little, Martha was interested in writing. Her first short story was published by a local newspaper when she was only nine years old. But tragedy struck her family when she was sixteen: Her father died suddenly, and he did not leave any money to provide for his wife and children. Despite financial hardship, Martha Rountree managed to attend the University of South Carolina for several years before dropping out to pursue a career in journalism. She got some experience working for the ...

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Spelling, Aaron (22 Apr. 1923–23 June 2006), television producer, was born to Polish-Russian immigrant parents and grew up poor in Dallas, Texas. His father, David Spurling, a tailor, had his name accidently changed to Spelling by inspectors when he first arrived at Ellis Island. He married a widow, Pearl Wald Seltzer, in ...

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Susskind, David (19 December 1920–22 February 1987), television producer and talk show host, was born David Howard Susskind in New York City, the son of Benjamin Susskind, an insurance agent, and Frances Lear. When Susskind was a baby he moved with his family to Brookline, Massachusetts, a comfortable suburb of Boston. After graduating from Brookline High School in 1938, he spent two years at the University of Wisconsin, where he met and in 1939 married classmate Phyllis Briskin, with whom he had three children. He transferred to Harvard University in 1940 and received a bachelor’s degree in politics and government in 1942. Susskind then served in the U.S. Navy for four years. Bored by the long periods of inactivity encountered in the military, energetic Susskind abandoned plans to become a college professor and set his sights on a career in show business, which he called “the most dynamic and interesting field I could get into.”...