Tony Converse

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Tony Converse (born August 7, 1935) is a television and film producer who began his professional career in New York in 1957 upon graduation from Yale University (BA Drama). [1]


Early career

Having been President of the Yale Dramat (undergraduate theater) and Drama Critic for the Yale Daily News ( in a time when each week brought a new show heading for Broadway to New Haven ) was a big help in getting a job at CBS at a time when there were no TV schools and almost everyone involved in TV in New York came from a Theater background.

While employed as a production assistant at CBS TV, Converse also worked as an actor, stage manager and director in the legitimate theater, interrupted by two years in the Army where he became the Program Director for the Armed Forces Radio Network in Europe. On returning to the United States, he was assistant to the Artistic Directors of the American Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Connecticut and the Williamstown (Mass.) Theater Festival.

Secret Storm & Dick Cavett

In 1963 he returned to television as Producer of the daytime serial Secret Storm, producing well over 1000 episodes until 1969 when he left to produce The Dick Cavett Show. He created both the Emmy Award nominated summer prime time and late night Cavett formats and was responsible for many notable shows, such as "The Lunts and Noel Coward," "The Woodstock Rock Festival," and one-man shows with Groucho Marx and Jack Benny, as well as many highly controversial evenings on political topics during that volatile time.

<i>The Dick Cavett Show</i> television series

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Jack Benny American comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor

Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television and film actor, and violinist. Recognized as a leading 20th-century American entertainer, Benny often portrayed his character as a miser, playing his violin badly, and claiming to be 39 years of age, regardless of his actual age.

CBS Television

In 1971 Converse joined CBS Television as Program Executive and was responsible for the CBS Daytime 90's, a unit he created for the production of 90-minute tape dramas, developing over 60 original teleplays and executive producing 12. He received an Emmy nomination for this program.

Appointed Vice President for Special Programs at CBS in 1974, he was responsible for the development and supervised the production of such films as Minstrel Man, Circle of Children, The Defection of Simas Kudirka, In This House of Brede, The Secret Life of Chapman, Goldenrod, The Deadliest Season and The Amazing Howard Hughes. He was also instrumental in the development of and supervised for the network such shows as Sills and Burnett at the Met, The Body Human, The Chuck Jones Animated Specials and The Carter Inaugural Gala.

EMI Television

In 1977 Converse joined Roger Gimbel's recently formed EMI Television Programs, Inc. as Vice President and Executive Producer. He has executive produced with Gimbel the TV films Forever, Deadman's Curve, Special Olympics, (Humanitas Award, Monte Carlo Film Festival Award, Christopher Award), Betrayal, The Cracker Factory, The Dark Side of Love, Survival of Dana, Can You Hear the Laughter, Orphan Train (Christopher Award), The Legend of Walks Far Woman, The Killing of Randy Webster (Monte Carlo Film Festival Nominee), Broken Promise (Film Advisory Board Award), A Question of Honor, The Manions of America, A Piano for Mrs. Cimino (Film Advisory Board Award, Monte Carlo Film Festival Award), Packin' It In, Deadly Encounter, Sessions, and Aurora.

The Christopher Award is presented to the producers, directors, and writers of books, films and television specials that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit". It is given by The Christophers, a Christian organization founded in 1945 by the Maryknoll priest James Keller.

Symphony in the Glen

In 1994 he co-founded,with composer/conductor Arthur B. Rubinstein, Symphony in the Glen, a non-profit organization presenting free Chamber Symphony concerts in Los Angeles parks.

For several years he served as a Dramaturg at the National Playwright’s Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford CT.

Eugene ONeill Theater Center

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit theater company founded in 1964 by George C. White. The O'Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards, the 1979 Special Award and the 2010 Regional Theatre Award, and the 2015 National Medal of Arts presented on September 22, 2016 by President Obama. The O'Neill is a multi-disciplinary institution that has had a transformative effect on American theater. The O'Neill pioneered play development and stage readings as a tool for new plays and musicals, and is also home to the National Theater Institute, an intensive study-away semester for undergraduates. Its major theater conferences include the National Playwrights Conference ; the National Critics Conference, the National Musical Theater Conference, the National Puppetry Conference, and the Cabaret & Performance Conference. The Monte Cristo Cottage, Eugene O'Neill's childhood home in New London, Connecticut, was purchased and restored by the O'Neill in the 1970s and is maintained as a museum. The theater's campus, overlooking Long Island Sound in Waterford Beach Park, has four major performance spaces: two indoor and two outdoor. The O'Neill is led by Executive Director Preston Whiteway.

Legitimate Theater

In a return to his roots in the legitimate theater Converse, in 1998, co-produced Over the River and Through the Woods which ran 820 performances at the John Houseman Theater in New York and the musical The Thing About Men at the Promenade Theater which won the Outer Critics Circle Award as Best Musical of 2003- 2004 season .

He served for 15 years as a Board Member of the O’Neill Theater Center and, from its inception, Symphony in the Glen; he is also a member of the Caucus for Writers, Producers and Directors and past Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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