On this day in 1924, Twilight Zone creator, Rod Serling, was born in Syracuse. He went on to win multiple awards over the course of his career, including six Emmys, two Writers Guild of America Awards, and a Golden Globe. At the age of two, his family moved south to Binghamton, where his father opened a grocery store.
Serling graduated from Binghamton High School in the midst of World War II and immediately joined the cause. Though he had hoped to join the cause in Europe, he was sent to the Pacific Theater as a paratrooper, where he earned a Purple Heart. The injuries he incurred would later fuel some of his writing. After returning from war, he attended Antioch College in Ohio.
Serling’s career was launched with the TV drama Patterns, that would go on to win him his first Emmy in 1955. Four years later, in 1959, Serling tapped into a popular subject of the time and began writing, and was the on-screen narrator for, The Twilight Zone. After The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), Serling took his skills to the big screen and, in 1968, he co-wrote the screenplay for the original movie version of Planet of the Apes.
Serling’s successes were a product of his hard work, including 12-hour days. But, according to an interview with USA Today in April 2013, his daughter, Anne (author of As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling), said her father seemed to make time for everything, especially family,
“I was aware that he got up very early in the morning, but he was always there at the dinner table and he was there when I came home from school,” she said. “We could sometimes play basketball — quite a lot, actually. I never had the sense that my father wasn’t available.”
By the end of his career, he wrote 252 scripts and won six Emmys.