Kinoy is one of U.S. television's most prolific and acclaimed writers.
His career spans five decades, from the live anthology dramas of
the 1950s to the made-for-television movies of the 1990s. His best-known
works--like scripts for The Defenders and Roots--have
dramatized social and historical issues. Outside of television,
Kinoy is less well-known than some of his contemporaries from the
golden age of television, like Mel Brooks and Paddy Chayefsky. Within
the industry, however, Kinoy has always been recognized for his
well-crafted television dramas. He has also written successfully
for radio, film, and the stage.
wrote for many shows in the 1950s, including The Imogene Coca
Show and The Marriage, a series for Hume Cronyn and Jessica
Tandy. He was best known for contributing to live anthology dramas
like The duPont Show of the Week, Studio One, and Playhouse
90. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held an
inquiry into the decline of the live dramas, Kinoy and other writers
offered damaging testimony about network unwillingness to broadcast
"serious" drama. CBS, under scrutiny, resurrected a weighty dramatic
series that would soon showcase Kinoy's talents--The Defenders.
Kinoy won two Emmy awards writing for the series, which was created
by his colleague Reginald Rose. The show followed two idealistic
lawyers, a father and son, who confronted controversial issues and
moral paradoxes on a weekly basis. In "Blacklist," one of Kinoy's
most celebrated episodes, Jack Klugman played a blacklisted actor
who finally received a serious part after ten years, only to be
harassed by vehement anti-Communists. In another well-known Kinoy
episode, "The Non-Violent," James Earl Jones played a black minister
thrown in jail with a wealthy, white civil rights activist. Like
Dr. Kildare, another series that Kinoy wrote for, The
Defenders was sometimes described as a New Frontier character
drama for its exploration of social ethics. During this same period,
Kinoy also wrote for the series The Nurses and Route 66.
In the 1970s, Kinoy shifted to made-for-television movies and feature
films. He often had two or more scripts produced in a year. Notable
accomplishments included Crawlspace (1972), a CBS movie about a
family adopting a homeless man, and Buck and the Preacher (1972),
an action-packed black Western directed by Sidney Poitier for the
big screen. Kinoy's television career took a new turn in 1976 when
he wrote two docudramas for producer David Wolper: Victory at
Entebbe, about the Israeli rescue operation in Uganda, and Collision
Course, based on Harry Truman's struggles with Douglas MacArthur.
Kinoy subsequently worked on Wolper's blockbuster docudrama Roots
(1977), winning an Emmy for an episode he co-wrote with William
Blinn. Kinoy served as Wolper's head writer on Roots: The Next
Generations (1979). In 1982, he received an Emmy nomination
and Writer's Guild of America award for another of his television
docudramas, Skokie, about street demonstrations attempted
by Neo-Nazis in the Jewish neighborhoods of Skokie, Illinois.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Kinoy's made-for-television movies continued
to receive praise. His scripts included Murrow (1985), about
the famous broadcaster, and TNT's Chernobyl: The Final Warning
(1990). Kinoy is a rare presence in contemporary television.
A writer known for quality drama, he has enjoyed success during
each of television's five major decades.
KINROY . Born 1 April 1925. Educated at Columbia University,
New York, U.S.A. Began writing career in radio; staff writer for
NBC Radio, 1948-60; writer for numerous television shows since the
1950s; president of the Writers Guild of America, East, 1969-71;
writer of several made-for-television movies and motion pictures.
Recipient: three Emmy Awards, 1963, 1964, 1977.
Photo courtesy of Broadcasting and Cable
1954-55 The Imogene Coca Show
1954 The Marriage
1948-58 Studio One
1956-61 Playhouse 90
1960-64 Route 66
1961-64 The Dupont Show of the Week
1961-65 The Defenders
1961-66 Dr. Kildare
1962-65 The Nurses
1973 The President's Plane Is Missing
1974 The Story of Jacob and Joseph
1976 Victory at Entebbe
1976 The Story of David
1976 Collision Course
1977 The Deadliest Season
1979 Roots: The Next Generation
1980 The Henderson Monster
1990 Chernobyl: The Final Warning
John, 1972; Buck and the Preacher, 1972
About a Soldier: A Comedy-drama in Three Acts. New York: Samuel
Bogle, Donald. "Roots" and "Roots: The Next Generations." Blacks
in American Film and Television: An Encyclopedia. New York:
Jay S., editor. TV Guide: The First 25 Years. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1978.
Steven H. Who's Who in Television and Cable. New York: Facts
on File, 1983.
Tom. Storytellers to the Nation : A History of American Television
Writing. New York: Continuum, 1992.
Frank. Live Television: the Golden Age of 1946-1958 in New York.
Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1990.
Mary Ann. The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy
Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Max. The Golden Age of Television: Notes from the Survivors.
New York: Dell, 1977.
Age of Television Drama; Playhouse
90; Roots; Route