Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Kirk Browning has passed away at the age of 86. Over the years he directed productions for 'Live From Lincoln Center', and was working on a production of "Madama Butterfly" when he died. In the past he also directed the premiere of "Amahl And The Night Visitors", productions for 'Hallmark Hall Of Fame', 'Great Performances', 'Live From The Met', and the first television program to have Frank Sinatra as its host.

Producer John Groberman said, "Kirk contained the entire history of cultural television in our country." He won two Emmys, one for "Turandot" and the other for "Goya with Placido Domingo", and he also directed the television productions of many Broadway shows including "Death Of A Salesman", "Our Town", "House Of Blue Leaves", "You Can't Take It With You", and "Fifth Of July".

What I found interesting in his obituary from the New York Times (by Dennis Hevesi) was this revelation about how his career began:

"Mr. Browning owned a chicken farm in Ridgefield, Conn., in 1947 when he happened into television. He befriended a customer on his egg route, Samuel Chotzinoff, the director of NBC's music division. Mr. Chotzinoff got him a job filing scores in NBC's music library. Later, after working as a stage manager, Mr. Browning was chosen to direct telecasts of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, led by Arturo Toscanini."

That would never happen today! Too much dependence on school training, unions, networking.....

I may pop my copy of "June Moon", which he directed in 1974, or the DVD of the original "Amahl And The Night Visitors" into the computer over the weekend in tribute to Mr. Browning....

Toby OB

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