Norman Jewison Biography

Norman Jewison photo

Born: July 21, 1926


Date of Birth: July 21, 1926

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Norman Jewison earned his BA at Victoria College, University of Toronto, where he received an honor award for writing and directing many of the college’s theatrical productions. After graduation, he moved to London, England, where he gained valuable experience not only writing scripts, but acting in BBC programs. Upon his return to Toronto in 1952, he began directing TV shows for the CBC. His outstanding work caught the eye of bigwigs in New York, and in 1958, CBS signed him to a contract. He worked on The Judy Garland Show as producer and director from 1962 to 1963, before making his film directing debut with 40 Pounds of Trouble (1963), an unofficial remake of the 1934 Shirley Temple flick, Little Miss Marker.

Since then, he has taken little time off from making movies, with hits such as The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966); In the Heat of the Night (1967), which won the Academy Award® for Best Picture; The Thomas Crown Affair (1968); Fiddler on the Roof (1971); Jesus Christ Superstar (1973); and Rollerball (1975), firmly establishing him as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished and respected directors.

Jewison not only directs, but he also writes screenplays (Jesus Christ Superstar) and produces many of the films he has directed, as well as those of other directors. In 1986, he established the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies in Toronto, to help upcoming filmmakers and actors get their start.

Not one to be satisfied to rest on his multitude of laurels, Jewison has continued to produce and direct highly acclaimed films, including Agnes of God (1985); Moonstruck (1988), which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Director; Other People’s Money (1991); and more recently, The Hurricane (1999), which he considered the third in his trilogy of movies that expose racial injustice (the other two were In the Heat of the Night and A Soldier’s Story). The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington, was the story of a boxer unjustly imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit. Jewison credits his adventures as an 18-year-old hitchhiking across the southern United States for making him aware of the racial segregation endured by the black population.

A winner of awards from film festivals and film societies around the world, Jewison has been nominated personally for four Oscars® and his films have received 45 nominations and 12 Academy Awards®. In 1999, he received the prestigious Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards®. In 1988 he received an honorary Genie for founding the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies; in 1998 he received the Canadian Film Centre Lifetime Achievement Award; and he has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Jewison married Margaret Ann Dixon on July 11, 1953, and they have three children, including a daughter, Jennifer. Their two sons, Kevin and Michael, both work in various aspects of the film industry.


The Hurricane(1999)
Bogus (1996)
Only You (1994)
Other People’s Money (1991)
In Country (1989)
Agnes of God(1985)
A Soldier’s Story (1984)
Best Friends (1982)
…And Justice for All (1979)
F.I.S.T. (1978)
Jesus Christ Superstar(1973)
Fiddler on the Roof(1971)
Gaily, Gaily(1969)
The Thomas Crown Affair(1968)
In the Heat of the Night(1967)
The Russian are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966)
The Cincinnati Kid(1965)
The Art of Love(1965)
Send Me No Flowers (1964)
The Thrill of It All (1963)
40 Pounds of Trouble (1963)

Change Location