- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Norman S. Powell, the two-time Emmy-nominated producer who worked on such series as The New Dick Van Dyke Show and 24 and, as a longtime CBS executive, greenlighted a pilot for Cagney & Lacey, has died. He was 86.
Powell, the son of actors Joan Blondell and Dick Powell, died Wednesday of acute respiratory failure, a publicist announced.
Powell earned his Emmy nominations for producing the 1977 ABC miniseries Washington Behind Closed Doors and for guiding the second season (2002-03) of the Fox drama 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland.
During his 13-year tenure as an executive with CBS, Powell advanced to senior vp of the network’s Entertainment Productions division and supervised development and production of more than 80 telefilms and 11 series.
Among the shows and TV movies made under his watch included the 1981 pilot for Cagney & Lacey, starring Tyne Daly and Loretta Swit (before Sharon Gless came on board); the 1989-96 reality show Rescue 911; the 1989 telefilm Unconquered, starring Peter Coyote and Dermot Mulroney; the 1990 telefilm Miracle Landing, starring Wayne Rogers; the 1989 pilot for Wolf, starring Jack Scalia; a rebooted Twilight Zone in 1985; and the 1981 telefilm Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper, written by Lionel Chetwynd.
Norman Scott Barnes was born in Hollywood on Nov. 2, 1934. His father was eight-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer George Barnes. After his dad and Blondell divorced in 1936, he was adopted by Dick Powell, the actress’ second husband, in 1938.
Norman Powell graduated from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and Cornell University, then worked as a production manager starting in the late 1950s on such TV Westerns as Wanted: Dead or Alive, Gunsmoke and The Rifleman.
His other producing credits included such series as CBS’ The New Dick Van Dyke Show; TNT’s The Lazarus Man, starring Robert Urich; CBS’ Orleans, starring Larry Hagman; and AMC’s The Lot, starring Holland Taylor; and telefilms like 1978’s More Than Friends, starring Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall; 1995’s Convict Cowboy, starring Jon Voight; and 1995’s Black Fox, starring Christopher Reeve.
Powell executive produced and directed the feature-length 2003 documentary American Valor, a look at the heroes who have received the Medal of Honor.
He also executive produced 2002’s Darkness at High Noon: The Carl Foreman Documents in a partnership with Chetwynd, with whom he would create more than 12 hours of the documentary series National Desk.
At the time of his death, Powell was working on a sequel to his 2009 Samuel Goldwyn-Showtime documentary Brothers at War with partner Jake Rademacher and executive producers Gary Sinise and Phil Gurin. He also was writing a memoir.
Powell was a longtime member of the DGA and an active member of the Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors, for whom he served two terms as chair. He was the recipient of the Caucus’ Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Survivors include his wife, Ellen Levine, and their son Matthew; his children by his first marriage, Sandra and Scott; his daughter-in-law. Laurie; his sister, Ellen; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Lisa and Kenneth; and two great-grandchildren.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day