Norman is the iconic co-writer of “Blazing Saddles,” and he was just six years removed from his career as a copyright lawyer when he helped create the screenplay in 1973 for this cult classic with Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor and Andrew Bergman.
His career trajectory has skyrocketed ever since. Also with Mel Brooks, Norman went on to executive produce ABC-TV series “When Things Were Rotten.” After that, he became the Executive VP of Comedy Development for Paramount Pictures Television. He then wrote the screenplay for “Yes, Giorgio,” starring Luciano Pavarotti (directed by Franklin Schaffner for MGM/UA) and was the head writer for “Johnny Dangerously,” starring Michael Keaton (directed by Amy Heckerling for 20th Century Fox). He wrote, produced and executive produced for Gene Wilder, Walter Matthau, Laurence Fishburne, Peter O’Toole, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Megan Mullally, Jane Leavy and Leonard Nimoy.
Fast-forward through numerous more accomplishments – including as Executive Producer/Showrunner for Columbia Pictures, CBS-TV and WB productions – Norman now passes along what he’s learned in the business. As a professor at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, he spearheaded the TV Writers Studio, an intensive Master of Fine Arts program in its eleventh year. It’s arguably the only graduate program like it in the U.S.
Norman has faced many career transitions since quitting law in 1967 to focus on screenwriting, but his time in practice remains part of his identity today, playing a key role in his ability to “take punches” and throw them. Thanks in part to mutual punching and the “agony of eating awful Chinese take-out at two in the morning” while working, he’s received an Emmy Award, a Writer’s Guild Award and a British Academy Award nomination.