Walter Grauman (Walter E. Grauman)

Walter Grauman

Walter Grauman was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Jacob and Irene Grauman, both children of German immigrants who married after settling in the United States. His father, Jacob Grauman, was president of a film distributing company. In his early years, Grauman lived in Shorewood, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, and later moved to Arizona where he attended the University of Arizona. He served for four years in the United States Army Air Forces flying 56 combat missions over Europe in a B-25 in the Twelfth Air Force and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross before moving to California, where his mother was living at the time. After spending a few years running his own business, Grauman eventually took a job as stage manager at NBC’s studios in Los Angeles. During his stint working at the network, he and relative (by marriage) Alan Armer developed a talent-show type program that proved popular, setting the mold for shows like Star Search and American Idol to follow. In 1957, Walter Grauman turned to films, directing “The Disembodied” for the “B film” division of Allied Artists Studios, which was headed by friend Walter Mirisch. Although he directed only six theatrical films, Grauman had one of the most active and long lasting television careers in history which included work on such shows as The Untouchables (1959 TV series), The Fugitive, Route 66, The Streets of San Francisco and The Twilight Zone. He also reportedly helped to get Michael Douglas one of his first jobs as a lead on The Streets of San Francisco.

Mr. Grauman directed 633 Squadron, a World War II film about a fictional squadron in the British RAF. In interviews, George Lucas has commented that he patterned the “trench run” sequence in his Star Wars: Episode IV on a scene from this film. (See the article on 633 Squadron for more information.) During his career, Mr. Walter Grauman directed a number of made-for-TV films, including the Aaron Spelling produced 1970 supernatural horror film Crowhaven Farm. Broadcast as an ABC Movie of the Week on 24 November 1970 and starring Hope Lange and Paul Burke, the film involves witchcraft, déjà vu, death, betrayal, revenge, and reincarnation, and it has become a cult classic. Mr. Grauman was the creator/executive producer of the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards (not to be confused with the Spotlight Awards (GDC) for game developers), which are run through the Los Angeles Music Center. He was among the closest living relatives to Sid Grauman, owner and founder of Los Angeles’ famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Egyptian Theater and Million Dollar Theater. At the time of his death in 2015 at the age of 93, he resided in Los Angeles with his wife.

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Born

  • March, 17, 1922
  • USA
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Died

  • March, 20, 2015
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cemetery

  • Westwood Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles, California
  • USA

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