Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Nicolas Noxon died Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 79.
Noxon’s specials garnered more than 400 awards, including 58 Emmys and four Peabody Awards. In 2009, he received the International Documentary Association Pioneer Award, which recognizes those who have had a significant impact on non-fiction television.
His “National Geographic Specials” on Dr. Louis Leakey’s discovery of early humans in the Olduvai Gorge and Dr. Robert Ballard’s discovery of the Titanic are among his most renowned.
Noxon also produced specials with ABC, David Wolper, Columbia Pictures Television, Metromedia, MGM, Survival Anglia and Time-Life.
Born in 1939 in London, Noxon grew up on Cape Cod, using his hometown of Brewster as the setting for his first documentary on herring migration.
In 1960, after hearing that Wolper was going to be producing documentaries for national syndication, Noxon moved to Los Angeles where he joined Wolper Productions. He worked as a producer and writer for the original “Biography” series hosted by Mike Wallace, which included biographies on Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Clarence Darrow, John Barrymore, Teddy Roosevelt and FDR.
When Wolper was approached to work with National Geographic, he brought Noxon along as a writer and producer.
In 1986, he joined Ballard on his expedition to the Titanic. The “Secrets of the Titanic” documentary showed the first images of the sunken cruise ship.
He also executive produced other National Geographic specials including “Wolves Of The Sea” and “Dragons Of Galapagos,” both winners of the prestigious Golden Panda at the Wildscreen Film Festival, and Emmy Award-winning “Heroes of the High Frontier.”
He is survived by his wife Nicky, a television producer; son Christopher, an author and journalist; daughter Marti, a TV and film writer, producer and director and three other children Carlton Dodd, Traci Norris and Megan Weaver, along with 11 grandchildren.