During the 1930s and 1940s, Norman Corwin was a superstar in radio, the leading news and entertainment medium of the day.
He began his career as a newspaper journalist in Massachusetts and transitioned to broadcasting at the dawn of the golden era of radio.
He won many awards throughout his lifetime before he died yesterday at age 101.
His best known work was the radio drama “On a Note of Triumph” which was first aired on May 8, 1945, the day the Allies declared victory in Europe.
Earlier this year, I wrote the obituary for Mr. Corwin’s brother, Emil Corwin, who retired at age 96 from the Food and Drug Administration as the oldest federally employed public affairs officer.
During my research for the story, I spoke to Mr. Corwin and asked him some questions about his brother’s life. I had written Mr. Corwin’s own obituary in advance and our conversation marked the the first time I had spoken to one of my obituary subjects before their death. I did not tell Mr. Corwin about that fact.
Mr. Corwin was 100 when we spoke on the phone. His voice trembled but he answered my questions clearly and I could tell he was still equipped with a sharp mind.
Some days after the obituary appeared in the paper I got an e-mail — an e-mail! — from Mr. Corwin.
“Thanks for your wonderful obituary on Emil Corwin,” he wrote to me last March. “It is [succinct], accurate and comprehensible, and covers the whole ground admirably.”
He ended the correspondence: “I should be as lucky when I go.”
Well, Mr. Corwin, I hope you’re proud.