Norman S. Powell, the veteran Hollywood producer, director and network executive known for his award-winning documentary “Brothers at War,” has died. He was 86.
Powell’s career in television and film spanned six decades and included work on “24,” “The Big Valley,” “The New Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Bob Crane Show.” He was the son of Hollywood Golden Age stars Joan Blondell and Dick Powell.
At the time of his death, Powell was writing a memoir and working on a sequel to his Iraq War-set documentary “Brothers at War” with partner Jake Rademacher and executive producers Gary Sinise and Phil Gurin.
After graduating from the Lawrenceville School and Cornell University, Powell started his career working on Westerns like “Wanted Dead or Alive” with Steve McQueen, “Gunsmoke” with James Arness and “The Rifleman” with Chuck Connors.
Powell earned Emmy nominations for producing Season 2 of “24” and “Washington: Behind Closed Doors,” a TV miniseries focusing on the Nixon administration.
He directed episodes of “The Big Valley,” “The New Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Bob Crane Show,” “The Lazarus Man,” “American Valor” and one episode of “Zane Grey Theatre,” and he served as assistant director on shows including “The Rifleman” and “The DuPont Show with June Allyson.”
Powell also worked as an executive at CBS Television, advancing to senior vice president of CBS Entertainment Productions and supervising development and production of more than 80 TV movies and 11 series. While at CBS, Powell oversaw series and films such as “Rescue 911,” “Miracle Landing,” “Unconquered,” “Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper,” “Quarterback Princess” and “The New Twilight Zone.”
Powell was a long-time member of the Directors Guild of America and an active member of The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors, where he served two terms as chair. He is also the recipient of The Caucus’ Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
He is survived by his wife Ellen Levine and their son Matthew Powell, his children by his first marriage, Sandra Espe and Scott Powell, his daughter-in-law Laurie Powell, his sister Ellen Powell, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lisa and Kenneth Brownstein, a step-grandson and two great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on June 25 at Mount Sinai in Simi Valley.