DAVID SUSSKIND - Called one of the most important cultural figures of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s
DAVID SUSSKIND Called one of the most important cultural figures of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, David Susskind is considered a key player in the development of television shows. Beginning his career as a talent agent, the Harvard educated Susskind successfully became a pioneer in radio, television, film and theater. The maverick TV producer and talk show host/moderator was known for his keen intelligence. He is credited with bringing quality and controversial material to radio, television and film. In 1958, he took the reins as a New York radio talk show host on Open End. The show began at 11 p.m. every night and would not end until the participants ran out of things to say. Eventually Open End was adapted to television and broadcast on Sunday nights as the two-hour talk show program The David Susskind Show that was highly regarded for its stimulating guests and controversial topics. Susskind’s most heated exchange occurred when he interviewed Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War in 1960. Through his long career as a talk show host, Susskind covered many hot-button issues including race relations, gay rights, and the Vietnam War. Among the many programs he produced, Susskind is credited with bringing many literary works to television such as Death of a Salesman, Look Homeward Angel, and feature films including A Raisin in the Sun, and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Throughout his career, David Susskind won 27 Emmy’s and 3 Peabody awards.