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From the Archives: TV's Rod Serling, 50, Dies 2 Days After Heart Surgery

From the Archives: TV's Rod Serling, 50, Dies 2 Days After Heart Surgery
Rod Serling (Museum of Television & Radio)

Television writer-producer Rod Serling died Saturday, two days after undergoing open-heart surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital, the hospital said. He was 50.

Serling was well known as creator and host of Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

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He was hospitalized in Ithaca, N.Y., for two week in May after suffering what was diagnosed as a mild heart attack.

Serling was readmitted to the hospital June 6 and was placed in the intensive care unit for an undisclosed illness.

He underwent 10 hours of open-heart surgery Thursday at Strong Memorial and apparently suffered a mild heart attack during the operation.

He was one of the best known and most honored writers in television. Such plays as "Patterns" and "Requiem for a Heavyweight" were prestigious highlights of television's Golden Age of drama in the 1950s. They were later made into motion pictures.

He received six Emmy awards, more than any other writer. He received the Peabody and Sylvania awards also.

In addition to his Twilight Zone and Night Gallery programs, Serling was known for frequent appearances as host or narrator on such specials as the Jacques Cousteau series. He appeared in many TV commercials also.

Serling constantly chided television for not living up to its potential as a dramatic and cultural medium and for its censorship. He was the first writer to be president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He lived in Interlaken, N.Y., while serving as a visiting professor at Ithaca College.

He was born Dec. 25, 1924, in Syracuse, N.Y. He went to school in Binghamton, N.Y., and enlisted in the Army paratroopers on the day of his graduation in 1942. He served three years int he Pacific.

He attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and went to New York in 1948 as a fledgling radio writer. He won second prize in the annual script competition for the Dr. Christian radio series.

Serling fought in the Golden Gloves and was a runner-up in the featherweight division championships.

He married the former Carolyn Kramer in 1948 and they had two daughters, Jody and Nan.

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