Herbert Brodkin

Herbert Brodkin (November 9, 1912 October 29, 1990)[1] was an American producer and director of film and television.

Herbert Brodkin
Born(1912-11-09)November 9, 1912
DiedOctober 29, 1990(1990-10-29) (aged 77)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Yale School of Drama
OccupationDirector, producer
Years active1940s-1990
Spouse(s)Patricia M. Brodkin (1917-1983)

Brodkin was best known as the producer of the television shows Playhouse 90, The Defenders,[2] and the short-lived series Coronet Blue.[3]

Brodkin was also the founder and president of Plautus Productions and also the co-founder of Titus Productions with Robert Berger in 1965.

Early life and education

Brodkin was born to a Jewish family[4] on November 9, 1912 in New York City,[1] the youngest of six children born to parents Adolph (1873 1946) and Rose (Hunter) Brodkin.[5] Brodkin's parents were both born in Russia. His father immigrated from Russia in 1887[6] and his mother in 1894.[7] Brodkin had two older brothers; Nathanal and Milton (19041970), and three older sisters; Gertrude, Ethel, and Beatrice.[8]

Brodkin graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in 1934 and from the Yale School of Drama in 1940.[9]



Brodkin started his career as a scenic designer of the 1947 Broadway drama O'Daniel. He was also the scenic designer of many other plays. Eventually, Brodkin would be the production manager of the plays Texas, Li'l Darlin, (1949), and Something About a Soldier, (1962).[10]


Brodkin began his career in television in 1950 as a set designer at CBS. Brodkin achieved recognition a few years later and became a producer for many anthology programs of the 1950s including The Elgin Hour, The Alcoa Hour, Goodyear Television Playhouse, and Studio One.

Playhouse 90 was one of Brodkin's most memorable production credits. Beginning in 1956, the series was able to put Brodkin's expertise in the theatrical arts at work. The series ended in 1960. Another one of Brodkin's memorable production credits was the 1960s courtroom drama The Defenders. The series starred E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed as a father-and-son defense attorney team who, under the production of Brodkin, dealt with subjects such as euthanasia and blacklisting, subjects which, at the time, were very touchy for television. Brodkin also became famous for his use of close-ups and fast cuts in the series.[11]

Some of the other television series that Brodkin produced were Brenner, The Nurses, and Coronet Blue, (all for CBS) and Espionage (for NBC).[12]


Brodkin also produced several films throughout his career.

One of those films include the 1981 movie Skokie. Skokie was the true story of constitutional rights in Illinois. The movie's plot was based on the real life NSPA Controversy of Skokie, Illinois in the late 1970s which involved the National Socialist Party of America. The movie starred Danny Kaye.[13]

Plautus Productions/Titus Productions

In 1959, Brodkin founded and became the president of Plautus Productions. The company was responsible for series such as Brenner, The Defenders, The Nurses, Espionage and Coronet Blue.[14] The production company closed in 1967.

In 1965, Brodkin, along with producer Robert Berger founded Titus Productions. Titus Productions served as the production company for many of the TV shows and films that Brodkin produced including the 1978 miniseries Holocaust, and the movies Skokie and Mandela.[12] The company was acquired by the Taft Entertainment Company in 1981. The studio defunct in 1989.[11]

Personal life

Brodkin was married once to Patricia M. Brodkin (May 3, 1917April 1, 1983)


Brodkin died on October 29, 1990 in New York City, New York at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He died of an aneurysm at the age of 77.[15] He was eleven days shy of his 78th birthday.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patricia Brodkin. He was survived by his two daughters; Lucinda D. and Brigit A. Brodkin. He was also survived by two older sisters; Pat Cutler, and Beatrice Forrest.[11]

Legacy and Honors

At Brodkin's alma mater, Yale School of Drama there are two scholarship and graduate programs established by Brodkin. They are The Herbert H. and Patricia M. Brodkin Scholarship and The Patricia M. Brodkin Memorial Scholarship.

The Herbert H. and Patricia M. Brodkin Scholarship was established by Herbert and Patricia Brodkin in 1963. The program is given to an outstanding student selected by the faculty of the school. The Patricia M. Brodkin Memorial Scholarship was established in 1983 by Herbert Brodkin, associates and friends in memory of his recently deceased wife Patricia. The program is awarded to a student of the school.[9]

Brodkin was posthumously inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1999. Other inductees that year included Carl Reiner, Fred Rogers, and Fred Silverman.[16]

Awards and nominations




Year Title Role Notes
1950-1951Charlie Wild, Private DetectiveProducer2 episodes
1953ABC AlbumProducer2 episodes
1954The Motorola Television HourProducer1 episode
Center StageExecutive ProducerProduced all episodes
1954-1955The Elgin HourProducer2 episodes
1955The Philco Television PlayhouseProducer1 episode
1955-1956Alcoa-Goodyear PlayhouseProducer3 episodes
1957Studio OneProducer4 episodes
1959-1960Playhouse 90Producer6 episodes
1959-1964BrennerExecutive Producer
1961-1965The DefendersExecutive Producer
1962-1965The Doctors and the NursesExecutive Producer
1965For the PeopleProducer
1967Coronet BlueExecutive Producer
CBS PlayhouseProducerEpisode - Dear Friends
1968CBS PlayhouseProducerEpisode - The People Next Door
1972Lights OutProducerTV movie
CrawlspaceProducerTV movie
1973PuebloProducerTV movie
Rx for the DefenseProducerTV movie
1974F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles'Executive ProducerTV movie
The Missiles of OctoberProducerTV movie
1975F. Scott Fitzgerald in HollywoodExecutive ProducerTV movie
1976The Land of HopeExecutive ProducerTV movie
1977The Deadliest SeasonExecutive ProducerTV movie
1978HolocaustExecutive ProducerMiniseries
SiegeExecutive ProducerTV movie
The Last TenantExecutive ProducerTV movie
1979Hollow ImageExecutive ProducerTV movie
1980Doctor FrankenExecutive ProducerTV movie
Death PenaltyExecutive ProducerTV movie
F.D.R.: The Last YearExecutive ProducerTV movie
The Henderson MonsterExecutive ProducerTV movie
King CrabExecutive ProducerTV movie
1981SkokieExecutive ProducerTV movie
1982My Body, My ChildExecutive ProducerTV movie
Benny's PlaceExecutive ProducerTV movie
1983Ghost DancingExecutive ProducerTV movie
1984SakharovExecutive ProducerTV movie
1986MurrowExecutive ProducerTV movie
1987Night of CourageExecutive ProducerTV movie
MandelaExecutive ProducerTV movie
1988Stones for IbarraExecutive ProducerTV movie
DoubletakeExecutive ProducerTV movie
1990Murder in Black and WhiteExecutive ProducerTV movie
Murder Times SevenExecutive ProducerTV movie



  1. "Herbert Brodkin (1912-1990)". www.imdb.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  2. "Herbert Brodkin, 77, a television producer celebrated for his dramas on social issues died Monday". The Baltimore Sun. November 1, 1990. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  3. "Herbert Brodkin (died 1990) Biography". www.tv.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  4. Television Academy: "Herbert Brodkin" retrieved October 23, 2017
  5. "United States Census, 1920 results for Herbert Brodkin". familysearch.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  6. "Person Details for Adolph Brodkin United States Census, 1920". familysearch.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  7. "Person Details for Rose Brodkin United States Census, 1920". familysearch.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  8. "Person Details for Herbert Brodkin United States Census, 1920". familysearch.org. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  9. "YSD Graduate Programs". www.tomshultz.com. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  10. "Herbert Brodkin at IBDB". ibdb.com. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  11. "Herbert Brodkin Is Dead at 77; TV Producer Who Broke Taboos". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  12. "Museum of Broadcast Communications - Brodkin, Herb (U.S. Producer)". www.museum.tv. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  13. "Skokie (1981)". www.allmovie.com. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  14. "Herbert Brodkin /Plautus Productions". ctva.biz. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  15. Folkart, Burt A. (November 1, 1990). "H. Brodkin, 77; Produced Top Shows for TV". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  16. "Television Academy Hall of Fame". www.emmytvlegends.org. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  17. "Herbert Brodkin Awards and Nominations". www.celebslight.com. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  18. "Filmography: Herbert Brodkin". www.imdb.com. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
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