Multihyphenate Irwin Rosten, who wrote and directed “The Incredible Machine” and produced “The Wolf Men,” died May 23 in Hollywood following a brief illness. He was 85.
Rosten produced and wrote several docs including the Oscar-nommed “Machine” and “Wolf Men.”
In the late 1960s he and his partner Nick Noxon created the first stand-alone documentary unit at a major studio. During their partnership with MGM, Rosten wrote and produced “Hollywood: The Dream Factory,” the first of numerous award-winning programs made for the studio and National Geographic.
Over a long career he created hundreds of hours of TV programming, taking home a Peabody, four Emmys, several WGA awards and two Oscar nominations.
When he was nominated for an Emmy for the National Geographic documentary, “Grizzly,” Irwin’s friends and business associates bought a full-page ad in Variety, and at the bottom of the page wrote: “This space paid for by the admirers of Irwin Rosten, a modest man who cannot be trusted to blow his own horn.”
Rosten started his career in TV’s infancy at the DuMont Network in New York where he wrote news. He moved to Los Angeles in 1954 and worked for KNXT and KTLA, writing news and producing half-hour specials. Rosten wrote anchor Jerry Dunphy’s famous greeting: “From the desert to the sea to all of Southern California — a good evening.”
Rosten’s credo was simple: “I hire the best people I can, I get out of the way, and somehow I get a lot of credit for it.”
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, and producer son, Peter.