Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJune 28, 1975, Rochester, New York, United States
SpouseCarol Serling
MarkAlways wore a suit and tie when presenting his shows
FactHe was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 6, 1988.

Rod Serling was an American screenwriter, television producer, and narrator known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone.

Born in Syracuse, New York, on December 25, 1924, Serling was the second of two sons born to Samuel Lawrence Serling and Mary Elizabeth (née Wade) Serling. His father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic. Serling’s father had fought in World War I and suffered shell shock, which left him with a temper that his son would later describe as “explosive”.

Serling’s early education was in the New York public school system. When he was 16, he enrolled at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he studied English literature. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1943 and served in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division during World War II. He saw combat in the Philippines and Japan and was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal.

After the war, Serling returned to Antioch College and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then enrolled in Syracuse University’s Master of Fine Arts program in dramatic writing.

Serling’s first television script was for an episode of the TV series Kraft Television Theatre in 1950. He went on to write for a number of live TV dramas in the 1950s, including Playhouse 90 and Studio One. In 1955, he wrote the screenplay for the film Patterns, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

In 1959, Serling created The Twilight Zone, a TV series that would become one of the most popular and influential shows in television history. The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons on CBS and featured stories that were often morality tales with a twist ending.

After The Twilight Zone ended its run, Serling wrote and produced several made-for-TV movies and continued to write for television. He won Emmy Awards for his work on The Twilight Zone and for an episode of the TV series Night Gallery.

Serling died of a heart attack on June 28, 1975, at the age of 50.

During his career, Serling won six Emmy Awards and was nominated for three Academy Awards. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential writers in television history.

General Info

Full NameRod Serling
DiedJune 28, 1975, Rochester, New York, United States
Height1.63 m
ProfessionScreenwriter, Television producer, Film producer, Playwright, Actor, Narrator
EducationAntioch College, Binghamton High School


SpouseCarol Serling
ChildrenJodi Serling, Anne Serling
ParentsEsther Cooper Serling, Samuel Lawrence Serling
SiblingsRobert J. Serling


AwardsPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, Peabody Award, Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Original Teleplay Writing, Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement, Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Children's Script, Primetime Emm...
NominationsEdgar Award for Best Television Episode Teleplay, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Drama, Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing In A Children/Youth/Family Special, Writers Guild of America Award for Best TV Anthology, Any Length, Primetime Emmy Award for Best Writing Of A Single ...
MoviesTwilight Zone: The Movie, Planet of the Apes, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Seven Days in May, A Storm in Summer, It's a Good Life, A Carol for Another Christmas, Encounter with the Unknown, Assault on a Queen, Patterns, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Night Gallery, The Salamander, The Outer Space Co...
TV ShowsLiar's Club, Night Gallery, The Sixth Sense, The Loner, The Twilight Zone

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Often seen holding a cigarette
2Short stature
3His stories often show a dark side of humanity ruled by paranoia, hatred and ignorance
4His stories often reflect his liberal political views
5His stories often reflect his staunch views against racism and war
6Distinctive clipped manner of speaking
7Frequent and effective use of twist endings
8Brief summaries of stories at the start and a conclusion of the moral at the end
9Science-fiction/fantasy storylines
10Always wore a suit and tie when presenting his shows
11Distinctive dramatic voice


1Fame is short-lived. One year after this show [The Twilight Zone (1959)] goes off the air, they'll never remember who I am. And I don't care a bit. Anonymity is fine with me. My place is as a writer.
2I've had my moments of depression but I guess you'd say I'm a pretty contented guy.
3[to an interviewer during the third season of The Twilight Zone (1959)] I'm tired of it, as most people are when they do a series for three years. I was tired after the fourth show. It's been a good series. It's not been consistently good, but I don't know any one series that is consistently good when you shoot each episode in three days. We've been trying gradually to get away from the necessity of a gimmick, but the show has the stamp of the gimmick and it's hooked for now. It's tough to come up with them week after week.
4[on the near cancellation of The Twilight Zone (1959) during the latter half of the show's third season] Anybody would rather quit than get the boot. On the other hand, I am grateful. We had some great moments of vast excitement and, on occasion, achieved some real status. But now it's time to move on.
5[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] Each story is complete in itself. This anthology series is not an assembly line operation. Each show is a carefully conceived and wrought piece of drama, cast with competent people, directed by creative, quality-conscious guys and shot with an eye toward mood and reality.
6[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] We want to prove that television, even in its half-hour form, can be both commercial and worthwhile. We want to tell stories that are different. At the same time, perhaps only as a side effect, a point can be made that the fresh and the untried can carry more infinite appeal than a palpable imitation of the already proved.
7[on hosting The Twilight Zone (1959)] There I am. Five feet five of solid gristle. I really don't like to do hosting. I do it by default. I have to. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't do it. I just tense up terribly before going before the cameras. It's an ordeal. If I had to go on "live," of course, I'd never do it. It's like boxing. I'm the only fighter in history who had to be carried both into and out of the ring.
8[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] It's not a monster rally or a spook show. There will be nothing formula'd in it, nothing telegraphed, nothing so nostalgically familiar than an audience can join the actors in duets. The Twilight Zone (1959) is what it implies: that shadowy are of the almost-but-not-quite; the unbelievable told in terms that can be believed.
9[on The Twilight Zone (1959)] I guess a third of the shows have been pretty damn good. Another third would have been passable. Another third are dogs -- which I think is a little better batting average than the average show. But to be honest, it's not as good as we thought or expected it to be.
10[on expanding The Twilight Zone (1959) to an hour long format] In the half-hour form we depended heavily on the old O. Henry twist. So the only question is: Can we retain The Twilight Zone (1959) flavor in an hour? We may have to come up with something totally different.
11Writing is a demanding profession and a selfish one. And because it is selfish and demanding, because it is compulsive and exacting, I didn't embrace it. I succumbed to it.
12In my writing, I work with a secretary and a recorder. I dictate everything. It's a freewheeling thing. I act out all the parts. I do three or four drafts but by the time I get through with the second, things are pretty well set.
13Being like everybody is the same as being nobody.
14If you want to prove that God is not dead first prove that man is alive.
15If you need drugs to be a good writer, you're not a good writer.
16(on being born on Christmas Day, 1924) I was a Christmas present that was delivered unwrapped.
17Hollywood's a great place to live... if you're a grapefruit.


1A copy writer from Syracuse, New York, Rod Serling toiled for years as an unproduced screenwriter. Then in 1956, his 72nd screenplay, the intense corporate drama "Patterns," was broadcast live (as most TV was back then) on NBC's B&W "Kraft Television Theatre." It won Serling an EMMY. He won a second statuette the following year, 1957, for "Requiem for a Heavyweight," which starred Jack Palance as a washed-up prizefighter. Newly minted as the most celebrated writer in a hot new medium, Serling moved his family to California where the TV industry was exploding. Once in Los Angeles, he quickly grew frustrated by how much sway corporate sponsors had over his content. So Serling hatched a plan: Since science fiction seemed to fly past network censors, he'd create an anthology series in that genre, using it to smuggle through some big ideas about politics, racism and the human condition. Everything about "The Twilight Zone" - from its unsettling Marius Constant score to its Joe Messerli-designed logo to Serling himself as the guide into the unknown - is now immutably iconic. The show-series ran on CBS from 1959 to 1964, picking up two EMMYS in 1960 and 1961 for Serling's writing. A lifelong smoker, he died June 28, 1975, of a heart attack during open-heart surgery. He was 50.
2He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 6, 1988.
3Inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2008.
4He usually dictated his scripts into a tape recorder and had his secretary type them up.
5Was friends with Star Trek (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry, who had the honor of reading the eulogy at Serling's funeral.
6He was credited as writer under the pseudonym "John Phillips" on the pilot episode of the television series The New People (1969). While Serling's name remained as the series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC-TV's editing of the pilot (it was cut from 52 to 45 minutes to fit into a 90 minute time slot along with another series) that he preferred to remove his real name. He possibly got this particular pseudonym from the novelist John Phillips (John Phillips Marquand, Jr.), whose only novel "The Second Happiest Day" was adapted to an episode of the television series Playhouse 90: The Second Happiest Day (1959) in 1959, for which series Serling had himself written a dozen episodes of prior to The Twilight Zone (1959).
7Out of the 92 The Twilight Zone (1959) episodes he wrote, his personal favorite was The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959). His favorite from an outside writer was The Twilight Zone: The Invaders (1961) by Richard Matheson.
8He considered the season four episode "He's Alive" which examines the subject of Fascism, the most important episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) he ever wrote.
9Was the first major writer to have disputes with advertisers and executives.
10Was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.
11Father of Jodi Serling (born 1950) and Anne Serling (born 1955) with Carol Serling.
12His influences included H.G. Wells, Norman Corwin, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, Edward R. Murrow and H.P. Lovecraft.
13Is considered to be one of the most influential writers in television history and is credited with creating many storytelling methods still used today.
14Appears on a 44¢ USA commemorative postage stamp, issued 11 August 2009, in the Early TV Memories issue honoring The Twilight Zone (1959).
15In 1975, Serling had two severe heart attacks before entering Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for heart bypass surgery. He had a third heart attack during the operation and died the following day at age 50.
16A news item in TV Guide the week of December 7, 1963 said that Serling would be visiting Hong Kong to film a television pilot called "Jeopardy Run".
17Robert Marshall Hosfeldt authored a 1961 MA Thesis at San Jose State College called "Analysis of the techniques and content of characterization in the Academy Award winning plays of Rod Serling." "Academy", in this case, referred to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
18Along with many other famous faces, he was a pie-in-the-face recipient on The Soupy Sales Show (1959). Serling's turn came in 1962.
19His schoolteacher Helen Foley encouraged him in his writing and he always believed he owed his success to her. A schoolteacher in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) was named Helen Foley in her honor.
20In 1994, 19 years after his death, he returned to "host" the pre-show area of "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park in Orlando, Florida. Through clever use of carefully edited vintage The Twilight Zone (1959) footage, new footage processed in black and white and special additional dialogue recorded by a Serling soundalike (reportedly selected personally by Serling's widow, Carol), Serling appears in a Twilight Zone episode based on the ride's storyline and introduces theme park visitors to the attraction. This brief introduction, which is shown on a special vintage television in the attraction's pre-show area, represents the first "new" introduction of The Twilight Zone that he appears in since the series' end in 1964.
21Following his sudden death, he was interred at Interlaken Cemetery in Interlaken, New York.
22Towards the end of his career, he narrated several documentaries about sharks and other underwater life that were shown a great deal, at the time, in schools.
23Attended and graduated from Binghamton High School in Binghamton, New York in 1943.
24Started writing during World War II while recuperating from his injuries.
25He owned a 1968 Glen Pray made replica of the 1937 Cord automobile. During the making of the game show Liar's Club (1969), he would go riding with friend and fellow actor and car enthusiast Tommy Bond, who played Butch in the Little Rascals series from the 1940s.
26He wanted Richard Egan to do the narration for The Twilight Zone (1959) because of his rich, deep voice. However, due to strict studio contracts of the time, Egan was unable to. Serling said "It's Richard Egan or no one. It's Richard Egan, or I'll do the thing myself," which is exactly what happened.
27On June 28, 1975, he was mowing his lawn, when all of a sudden, he began to experience some chest pains and collapsed. His neighbor found him and called the ambulance. When he arrived in the operating room, the doctors saw that the artery leading to his heart was disintegrating and there was no hope for him. He died later that day in the hospital.
28Ranked #1 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (August 1, 2004 issue), the only real person on the list. All the others are television series characters.
29Brother of writer/novelist Robert J. Serling.
30Host of the syndicated radio show "The Zero Hour" (1973-1974).
31Served in the United States Army, under the service number 32-738-306, from January 1943 to January 1946. Discharged in the rank of Technician 5th Grade (the equivalent of a Corporal) having served as an Infantry Combat Demolition Specialist and a Paratrooper.
32Military decorations from the Second World War include: World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with Arrowhead Device), Good Conduct Medal, Phillippine Liberation Medal (with one bronze service star), Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin. Also retroactively authorized the Bronze Star Medal, based on receipt of the Combat Infantryman Badge during the Second World War.
33Was an outspoken supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
34Suffered from combat-related flashbacks and insomnia.
35Born into a Reform Jewish family, he later became a Unitarian upon his marriage in 1948.
36Was a Communications professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
37Moved to Binghamton, New York at an early age, where he spent most of his youth.
38Parents are Samuel Lawrence and Esther Serling.




#WTRAPSU: Will the Real Alien Please Stand Up?2016Short based on an original story by
The Hitch-Hiker2015TV Series original teleplay
The Twilight ZoneTV Series created by - 44 episodes, 2002 - 2003 written by - 1 episode, 2003 story by - 1 episode, 2003
For All Time2000TV Movie Twilight Zone episode "A Stop at Willoughby"
A Storm in Summer2000TV Movie 1970 teleplay / written by
A Town Has Turned to Dust1998TV Movie
In the Presence of Mine Enemies1997TV Movie
End of the Road1997Short teleplay
The Enemy Within1994TV Movie screenplay "Seven Days in May"
Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics1994TV Movie story / written by
The Twilight ZoneTV Series created by - 65 episodes, 1985 - 1989 based on the story and teleplay by - 2 episodes, 1985 - 1986 story by - 1 episode, 1988
Twilight Zone: The Movie1983television series The Twilight Zone
The Salamander1981adaptation
The Sad and Lonely Sundays1976TV Movie
Time Travelers1976TV Movie story
Rekvijem za teskasa1974TV Movie
Night GalleryTV Series 1 episode, 1971 teleplay - 19 episodes, 1970 - 1973 written by - 11 episodes, 1969 - 1972
The Man1972screenplay
Waar is iedereen?1970TV Short
A Storm in Summer1970TV Movie written by
The New PeopleTV Series developer - 17 episodes, 1969 - 1970 written by - 1 episode, 1969
Certain Honorable Men1968TV Movie
Planet of the Apes1968screenplay
The Doomsday Flight1966TV Movie
Assault on a Queen1966screenplay
Insight1966TV Series writer - 1 episode
The LonerTV Series created by - 26 episodes, 1965 - 1966 written by - 15 episodes, 1965 - 1966
Der neue Mann1965TV Movie play
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler TheatreTV Series written by - 3 episodes, 1963 - 1965 adaptation - 1 episode, 1964 previous teleplay The Strike - 1 episode, 1964 teleplay - 1 episode, 1963
A Carol for Another Christmas1964TV Movie
The Twilight ZoneTV Series created by - 156 episodes, 1959 - 1964 written by - 71 episodes, 1959 - 1964 teleplay by - 21 episodes, 1959 - 1964
The Movie Maker1964TV Movie written by
Seven Days in May1964screenplay
Let Us Continue1963Documentary short writer
The Yellow Canary1963writer
Im Schatten des Krieges1963TV Movie play
Requiem for a Heavyweight1962teleplay
Incident in an Alley1962story
Armchair Theatre1958-1961TV Series writer - 3 episodes
Der entscheidende Augenblick1961TV Movie
BBC Sunday-Night Play1960TV Mini-Series 1 episode
Playhouse 90TV Series writer - 8 episodes, 1956 - 1960 script - 1 episode, 1958 written by - 1 episode, 1957 adaptation for television - 1 episode, 1956
Requiem voor een zwaargewicht1959TV Movie
BBC Sunday-Night TheatreTV Series 2 episodes, 1957 - 1959 teleplay - 1 episode, 1957
Teledrama1959TV Series teleplay - 1 episode
Television Playwright1959TV Series writer - 1 episode
Pursuit1958TV Series writer - 1 episode
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1958TV Series written by - 1 episode
Matinee Theatre1955-1958TV Series writer - 2 episodes
Saddle the Wind1958screenplay
Blood Money1957TV Movie
The Rack1956teleplay
The Kaiser Aluminum Hour1956TV Series writer - 1 episode
General Electric Theater1955-1956TV Series writer - 2 episodes
The United States Steel Hour1955-1956TV Series writer - 3 episodes
The Catholic Hour1956TV Series writer - 1 episode
Studio One in HollywoodTV Series writer - 4 episodes, 1953 - 1955 written especially for Studio One by - 2 episodes, 1954 - 1956
Patterns1956original story and screen play
Climax!TV Series writer - 2 episodes, 1955 adaptation - 1 episode, 1955
Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre1955TV Series writer - 1 episode
Star Tonight1955TV Series writer - 1 episode
Appointment with Adventure1955TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Ford Television TheatreTV Series story and screenplay - 1 episode, 1955 story & teleplay - 1 episode, 1954
Kraft TheatreTV Series writer - 5 episodes, 1953 written by - 2 episodes, 1955
Playbill1955TV Series teleplay - 1 episode
Armstrong Circle Theatre1952-1955TV Series writer - 2 episodes
The Challenge1955TV Movie
DangerTV Series teleplay - 1 episode, 1954 writer - 1 episode, 1954
Center Stage1954TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Motorola Television Hour1953-1954TV Series writer - 2 episodes
The Philip Morris Playhouse1954TV Series writer - 1 episode
Medallion Theatre1953TV Series writer - 3 episodes
Campbell Summer Soundstage1953TV Series story - 1 episode
Lux Video Theatre1952-1953TV Series writer - 8 episodes
Ponds Theater1953TV Series writer
Suspense1953TV Series written for television by - 1 episode
Man Against Pain1953TV Movie writer
Horace Mann's Miracle1953TV Movie writer
The Doctor1952TV Series writer - 2 episodes
I Lift Up My Lamp1952TV Movie writer
The Carlson Legend1952TV Movie writer
Shadow of the Cloak1952TV Series 1 episode
Stars Over HollywoodTV Series 1 episode, 1950 writer - 1 episode, 1950


The Art of Film1976TV SeriesNarrator (voice)
The Legendary Curse of the Hope Diamond1975TV MovieNarrator
Phantom of the Paradise1974Introductory Narrator (voice, uncredited)
Encounter with the Unknown1973Narrator (voice)
Ironside1972TV SeriesThyros, Witches Shop Keeper
Appointment with Destiny1971TV SeriesNarrator
The Twilight Zone1959-1964TV SeriesNarrator / Himself - Host
Ichabod and Me1962TV SeriesEugene Hollinfield


Sathya Sai Baba: Man of Miracles2006Documentary series producer
The Sad and Lonely Sundays1976TV Movie producer
The Twilight Zone1959-1960TV Series executive producer - 36 episodes


The Loner1965-1966TV Series supervising script consultant - 26 episodes


Gorillaville2014-2017TV Series short special thanks - 22 episodes
Back on Earth?2013Short inspirational thanks
Rabid Love2012Short thanks
Blüm2011Short thanks
MyShadow2011Short special thanks
El embaucador2008Short special thanks
Cultivision (Collapsing Stars)2002thanks
Planet of the Apes2001acknowledgment: 1968 "Planet Of The Apes" theatrical motion picture adapted by


Sathya Sai Baba: Man of Miracles2006DocumentaryHimself
The Exiles1989DocumentaryHimself
UFOs: It Has Begun1979DocumentaryPresenter and Narrator
They Made Movies in Ithaca1975DocumentaryNarrator
The Outer Space Connection1975DocumentaryNarrator
UFOs: Past, Present, and Future1974DocumentaryNarrator
Monsters! Mysteries or Myths?1974TV Movie documentaryHimself - Host
The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau1968-1974TV Series documentaryNarrator
Big Mouth1974DocumentaryNarrator
Stand Up and Cheer1973TV SeriesHimself
The Silent Drum1973DocumentaryNarrator
Deadly Fathoms1973DocumentaryNarrator
Password All-Stars1972-1973TV SeriesHimself - Celebrity Contestant
In Search of Ancient Astronauts1973TV Movie documentaryNarrator
In Search of Ancient Mysteries1973TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Night Gallery1969-1973TV SeriesHimself - Host
The Sixth Sense1972TV SeriesHimself - Host / Himself
Zenith Presents: A Salute to Television's 25th Anniversary1972TV SpecialHimself
The Dick Cavett Show1972TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Writer / Himself - Guest
The Pet Set1971TV Series documentaryHimself
The Unexplained1970TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Laugh-In1968-1970TV SeriesHimself
Della1970TV SeriesHimself
The Andy Williams Show1969TV SeriesHimself
Liar's Club1969TV SeriesHimself
Silent Treatment1968DocumentaryHimself
The Donald O'Connor Show1968TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1963-1968TV SeriesHimself - Guest / Himself
Personality1968TV SeriesHimself
Today1967TV SeriesHimself
You Don't Say1963-1967TV SeriesHimself
The Match Game1963-1966TV SeriesHimself - Team Captain
Hollywood Talent Scouts1966TV SeriesHimself
The Linkletter Show1965TV SeriesHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1965TV SeriesHimself
That Regis Philbin Show1965TV SeriesHimself
The Object Is1964TV SeriesHimself - Panelist
The Danny Kaye Show1964TV SeriesHimself
Fractured Flickers1963TV SeriesHimself
The Art Linkletter Show1963TV SeriesHimself
The Jack Benny Program1963TV SeriesHimself
PM East1961TV SeriesHimself
Here's Hollywood1961TV SeriesHimself
CBS Fall Preview Special: Seven Wonderful Nights1961TV Movie documentaryHimself
The David Susskind Show1960TV SeriesHimself
The Red Skelton Hour1960TV SeriesHimself / Cameo
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse1960TV SeriesHimself
The Mike Wallace Interview1959TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Playhouse 901958TV SeriesHimself - Host
Look Here1958TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Social Security in Action1958TV SeriesHimself
Night Beat1957TV Series documentaryHimself

Archive Footage

The Sixties2014TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself - Host of The Twilight Zone
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness2012TV Series documentaryNarrator (end of Segment #4)
Not Fade Away2012Himself in The Twilight Zone (uncredited)
Pioneers of Television2011TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Medium2005TV SeriesHimself
Horror Business2005Video documentaryHimself
E! True Hollywood Story2000TV Series documentaryHimself
Rod Serling: Writer1996DocumentaryHimself
American Masters1995TV Series documentaryHimself
Horrible Horror1986VideoHimself
Twilight Zone: The Movie1983Narrator (end of Segment #4) (uncredited)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It