Biography

An amateur filmmaker from the age of 16, John Korty went professional after receiving a Liberal arts education at Antioch College. After designing and directing animated TV commercials, Korty won an Oscar for his 1964 short subject Breaking the Habit. He was critically garlanded for his first feature, Crazy Quilt (1965), an ultracheap character study shot silent (it was post-dubbed, with narration by Burgess Meredith and music by Peter "PDQ Bach" Schickele) and in black and white. In comparison, his next effort, the low-budget Funnyman (1967), was a Cecil B. DeMille epic; this largely improvisational effort is distinguished by the presence of the comedy troupe The Committee (including Peter Bonerz) and by Korty's animated vignettes. His subsequent films (Riverrun, Alex and the Gypsy etc.) were more mainstream in nature, though they still could not be considered conformist. On television, Korty has been one of the busiest and most successful laborers in the field of made-for-TV movies: Go Ask Alice, The Silence, Class of 63, Farewell to Manzanar, Ewok Adventure and many others. John Korty won an Emmy for his direction of Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), and, in an unusual move, was honored with an Emmy and an Oscar for Who Are the Debolts--and Where Did They Get 19 Kids? (1978). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi