Norman Jewison Had a Storied Life Behind the Scenes of His Inspiring Film Career

Jamie Lerner - Author
By

Jan. 23 2024, Published 8:13 a.m. ET

Norman Jewison attends the Council for Canadian American Relations Gala at The Metropolitan Club on Oct. 24, 2017
Source: Getty Images

One of Hollywood’s most influential directors, Norman Jewison, passed away at 97 years old on Jan. 20, 2024. He’s known for directing films such as Fiddler on the Roof and In the Heat of the Night. His career began in 1962 with 40 Pounds of Trouble. As a Canadian filmmaker, Norman used his platform to tackle societal issues while promoting Canada as a center for film.

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Throughout his storied career, Norman received a Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA as well as several Academy Award and Emmy nominations. His films won 12 Academy Awards and 12 Golden Globes, making him one of the most successful filmmakers of his time. But was Norman married and did he have kids? What was his cause of death? Keep reading for all of the details.

Norman Jewison and Sidney Poitier at the 50th anniversary screening of 'In the Heat of the Night' during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 6, 2017
Source: Getty Images
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Norman was first married to Margaret Ann “Dixie” Dixon before he remarried in 2010.

In July 1953, Norman married his first wife, Margaret Ann “Dixie” Dixon. According to Norman’s autobiography, This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me, he and Dixie met at a 1952 party. When someone suggested Norman drive Dixie home since they lived close to one another, the two hit it off, but they had some hurdles to overcome.

Dixie was a model known as the “Black Cat” cigarette girl whose father was a stockbroker. Norman, on the other hand, grew up in a modest family; he was the son of a shopkeeper. In 1944, Norman joined the Navy while Dixie attended Branksome Hall private school. Even still, Norman and Dixie went on to marry in 1953.

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Norman Jewison, Dixie Jewison, Penni Crenna, and Richard Crenna
Source: Getty Images

The couple lived on Bingham Avenue, later moving to Los Angeles so that Norman could pursue his film career. Dixie became an unofficial Canadian ambassador to Los Angeles and devoted herself to philanthropy, starting the first childcare center in Watts. In 1978, they moved back to Canada and bought a farm in Caledon Hills. However, in 2004, Dixie sadly died of lung and throat cancer.

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In 2010, it was reported that Norman married his girlfriend, Lynne St. David, whom he first started dating in 2008. Little is known about the ins and outs of their relationship, but she often accompanied him on the red carpet later in life.

Norman Jewison and Lynne St. David at the 70th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 3, 2018
Source: Getty Images
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During his first marriage, Norman had three kids and 10 grandchildren.

Norman and Dixie had three kids during their 51-year marriage. All three kids — Jennifer Ann, Michael, and Kevin — went on to somewhat work in the film industry. Jennifer became an actor, appearing in some of Norman’s films, such as Best Friends and Agnes of God.

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Michael became a producer and location manager, working on projects such as 1999’s The Hurricane and 2001’s Walter and Henry. Kevin, however, is the only Jewison child still working on film and television today. He became a camera operator and cinematographer with his first job in 1981 on Obsession. He worked with his father several times over the years, although his most recent film was the TV movie, Spin, in 2021.

Norman’s cause of death was likely natural causes.

On Jan. 22, the news broke of Norman’s death. According to Prince George Citizen, a publicist said that Norman “died peacefully at his home.” At the age of 97 years old, we can only assume that Norman died of natural causes, although the exact cause has yet to be released.

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Many took to social media to share their condolences for the Canadian filmmaker, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He tweeted, “An iconic filmmaker and one of Canada’s greatest storytellers, Norman Jewison made some of the most memorable films of the twentieth century. Yes, they were his own creative works — but they echoed values that are proudly held by many others across the country.”

Norman is survived by his second wife, Lynne St. David Jewison, his three kids, and their families.

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