Rod Serling, writer, producer, and narrator, was born on December 25th, 1925, in Syracuse, New York, but spent much of his youth in Binghamton, 70 miles away from Syracuse.
He was interested in the theater from a young age, and would put on plays in a basement theater built for him by his father, Sam. Some of his teachers saw him as the class clown, and didn’t think he would amount to much, but they were very wrong. In high school, he joined the debate team and wrote for the school newspaper, establishing a reputation as a social activist.
Serling had an interest in radio from an early age, and was part of the staff at a local radio station in his teens. He also started writing, but was never published. When he graduated from high school in 1943, America was in the midst of World War II. Young Serling enlisted, and became a paratrooper. While in the military, Serling also began boxing, fighting in 17 bouts. He also broke his nose twice while in boxing matches. He saw his first combat in the Philippines. After the war, Serling used his G.I. benefits to attend Antioch College in Ohio, graduating with a major in literature in 1950. He worked in local radio stations during this time, and also was a freelance writer.
During the 1950s, Serling began selling scripts. His work appeared on Kraft Playhouse and Playhouse 90. “Patterns” was his first critical success, followed by “Requiem for a Heavyweight”, which was later made into a film. Serling is perhaps best known for the TV series, “The Twilight Zone”, which premiered in 1959. He is also known for the TV series, “Night Gallery”. In addition to his writing, Rod Serling was a frequent visitor on college campuses, giving lectures and seminars. He also taught at Ithaca College from the 1960s until his death, from a heart attack, in 1975. He is also remembered as an anti-war activist. His daughter, Anne Serling wrote a book about her father titled, “As I Knew Him My Dad, Rod Serling”. She also has a Facebook page devoted to her father, with the same title.