Norman Jewison, a celebrated Toronto director known for his wide-ranging Hollywood career, passed away at the age of 97. His legacy encompasses an impressive array of films, from classic comedies with Doris Day to impactful social dramas, leaving an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape. His impact on the Toronto film industry is immeasurable and ensures a lasting legacy.
Born in 1926 in Toronto, Jewison served in the Royal Canadian Navy before returning to complete his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto. His filmmaking journey began in television at the BBC in London, followed by the CBC in Canada. In 1951, he moved to New York City, eventually transitioning to Hollywood in 1958, where he directed his first feature 40 Pounds of Trouble.
Jewison’s filmography includes more than 40 films and TV shows, and includes many awards and award nominations. In the Heat of the Night was one of his most important works, and garnered the director his first and only Academy Award for Best Picture.
Other works of note include Moonstruck and The Hurricane, amongst many others.
We mourn the loss of our founder and visionary, Norman Jewison – national icon, brilliant storyteller, passionate humanitarian, steadfast mentor and friend, compassionate human, and a devoted husband and father. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/CSyeVJtWUI
— Canadian Film Centre (@cfccreates) January 22, 2024
But beyond the incredible body of work, Jewison played a pivotal role in shaping the Canadian film landscape. He founded the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) in 1988, evolving it into a comprehensive training and mentorship program to nurture emerging Canadian talent including the likes of Devery Jacobs, Sarah Polley, Vincenzo Natali and many others.
Toronto honoured Jewison by naming a park after him in 2001, and in 2023, the Hazelton Hotel paid tribute by renaming its screening room in his honour.
Norman Jewison’s enduring legacy is not only reflected in his timeless films but also in the countless individuals he inspired and the institutions he helped establish. He will be missed but his creative spirit will live on. RIP Norman Jewison.