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Herbert Brodkin

Herbert Brodkin
Born(1912-11-09)November 9, 1912
New York City, U.S.
DiedOctober 29, 1990(1990-10-29) (aged 77)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Yale School of Drama
Occupation(s)Director, producer
Years active1940s-1990
SpousePatricia M. Brodkin (1917-1983)

Herbert Brodkin (November 9, 1912 – October 29, 1990)[citation needed] was an American producer and director of film and television.

Brodkin was best known as the producer of the television shows Playhouse 90, The Defenders,[1] the miniseries Holocaust and the short-lived series Coronet Blue.

Brodkin was also the founder and president of Plautus Productions and also the co-founder of Titus Productions with Robert Berger in 1965.

Early life and education

Brodkin was born to a Jewish family[2] on November 9, 1912, in New York City,[citation needed] the youngest of six children born to parents Adolph (1873 – 1946) and Rose (Hunter) Brodkin.[3] Brodkin's parents were both born in Russia. His father immigrated from Russia in 1887[4] and his mother in 1894.[5] Brodkin had two older brothers; Nathanal and Milton (1904–1970), and three older sisters; Gertrude, Ethel, and Beatrice.[6]

Brodkin graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in 1934 and from the Yale School of Drama in 1940.[7]



Brodkin started his career as a scenic designer of the 1947 Broadway drama O'Daniel. He was also the scenic designer of many other plays. Eventually, Brodkin would be the production manager of the plays Texas, Li'l Darlin, (1949), and Something About a Soldier, (1962).[8]


Brodkin began his career in television in 1950 as a set designer at CBS. Brodkin achieved recognition a few years later and became a producer for many anthology programs of the 1950s including The Elgin Hour, The Alcoa Hour, Goodyear Television Playhouse, and Studio One.

Playhouse 90 was one of Brodkin's most memorable production credits. Beginning in 1956, the series was able to put Brodkin's expertise in the theatrical arts at work. The series ended in 1960. Another one of Brodkin's memorable production credits was the 1960s courtroom drama The Defenders. The series starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as a father-and-son defense attorney team who, under the production of Brodkin, dealt with subjects such as euthanasia and blacklisting, subjects which, at the time, were very touchy for television. Brodkin also became famous for his use of close-ups and fast cuts in the series.[9]

Some of the other television series that Brodkin produced were Brenner, The Nurses, For the People, and Coronet Blue, (all for CBS), Shane (for ABC),[10] and Espionage (for NBC).[11]


Brodkin also produced several films throughout his career.

One of those films include the 1981 movie Skokie. Skokie was the true story of constitutional rights in Illinois. The movie's plot was based on the real life NSPA Controversy of Skokie, Illinois, in the late 1970s which involved the National Socialist Party of America. The movie starred Danny Kaye.[12]

Plautus Productions/Titus Productions

In 1959, Brodkin founded and became the president of Plautus Productions. The company was responsible for series such as Brenner, The Defenders, The Nurses, Espionage and Coronet Blue. The production company closed in 1967.

In 1965, Brodkin, along with producer Robert Berger founded Titus Productions. Titus Productions served as the production company for many of the TV shows and films that Brodkin produced including the 1978 miniseries Holocaust, and the movies Skokie and Mandela. The company was acquired by the Taft Entertainment Company in 1981. The studio defunct in 1989.[9]

Personal life

Brodkin was married once to Patricia M. Brodkin (May 3, 1917–April 1, 1983)


Brodkin died on October 29, 1990, in New York City, New York at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He died of an aneurysm at the age of 77.[13] He was eleven days shy of his 78th birthday.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patricia Brodkin. He was survived by his two daughters; Lucinda D. and Brigit A. Brodkin. He was also survived by two older sisters; Pat Cutler, and Beatrice Forrest.[9]

Legacy and Honors

At Brodkin's alma mater, Yale School of Drama there are two scholarship and graduate programs established by Brodkin. They are The Herbert H. and Patricia M. Brodkin Scholarship and The Patricia M. Brodkin Memorial Scholarship.

The Herbert H. and Patricia M. Brodkin Scholarship was established by Herbert and Patricia Brodkin in 1963. The program is given to an outstanding student selected by the faculty of the school. The Patricia M. Brodkin Memorial Scholarship was established in 1983 by Herbert Brodkin, associates and friends in memory of his recently deceased wife Patricia. The program is awarded to a student of the school.[7]

Brodkin was posthumously inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1999. Other inductees that year included Carl Reiner, Fred Rogers, and Fred Silverman.[14]

Awards and nominations




Year Title Role Notes
1950-1951 Charlie Wild, Private Detective Producer 2 episodes
1953 ABC Album Producer 2 episodes
1954 The Motorola Television Hour Producer 1 episode
Center Stage Executive Producer Produced all episodes
1954-1955 The Elgin Hour Producer 2 episodes
1955 The Philco Television Playhouse Producer 1 episode
1955-1956 Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse Producer 3 episodes
1957 Studio One Producer 4 episodes
1959-1960 Playhouse 90 Producer 6 episodes
1959-1964 Brenner Executive Producer
1961-1965 The Defenders Executive Producer
1962-1965 The Doctors and the Nurses Executive Producer
1965 For the People Producer
1966 Shane Producer
1967 Coronet Blue Executive Producer
CBS Playhouse Producer Episode - Dear Friends
1968 CBS Playhouse Producer Episode - The People Next Door
1972 Lights Out Producer TV movie
Crawlspace Producer TV movie
1973 Pueblo Producer TV movie
Rx for the Defense Producer TV movie
1974 F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles' Executive Producer TV movie
The Missiles of October Producer TV movie
1975 F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood Executive Producer TV movie
1976 The Land of Hope Executive Producer TV movie
1977 The Deadliest Season Executive Producer TV movie
1978 Holocaust Executive Producer Miniseries
Siege Executive Producer TV movie
The Last Tenant Executive Producer TV movie
1979 Hollow Image Executive Producer TV movie
1980 Doctor Franken Executive Producer TV movie
Death Penalty Executive Producer TV movie
F.D.R.: The Last Year Executive Producer TV movie
The Henderson Monster Executive Producer TV movie
King Crab Executive Producer TV movie
1981 Skokie Executive Producer TV movie
1982 My Body, My Child Executive Producer TV movie
Benny's Place Executive Producer TV movie
1983 Ghost Dancing Executive Producer TV movie
1984 Sakharov Executive Producer TV movie
1986 Murrow Executive Producer TV movie
1987 Night of Courage Executive Producer TV movie
Mandela Executive Producer TV movie
1988 Stones for Ibarra Executive Producer TV movie
Doubletake Executive Producer TV movie
1990 Murder in Black and White Executive Producer TV movie
Murder Times Seven Executive Producer TV movie


  1. ^ "Herbert Brodkin, 77, a television producer celebrated for his dramas on social issues died Monday". The Baltimore Sun. November 1, 1990. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  2. ^ Television Academy: "Herbert Brodkin" retrieved October 23, 2017
  3. ^ "United States Census, 1920 results for Herbert Brodkin". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "Person Details for Adolph Brodkin United States Census, 1920". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Person Details for Rose Brodkin United States Census, 1920". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Person Details for Herbert Brodkin United States Census, 1920". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "YSD Graduate Programs". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "Herbert Brodkin at IBDB". Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Blau, Eleanor (31 October 1990). "Herbert Brodkin Is Dead at 77; TV Producer Who Broke Taboos". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  10. ^ "Herbert Brodkin: Hall of Fame Tribute". Television Academy Emmys. November 28, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "Museum of Broadcast Communications - Brodkin, Herb (U.S. Producer)". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Skokie (1981)". Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  13. ^ Folkart, Burt A. (November 1, 1990). "H. Brodkin, 77; Produced Top Shows for TV". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Television Academy Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on March 31, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "Herbert Brodkin Awards and Nominations". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
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Herbert Brodkin
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