‘One Life to Live’ director, Great Neck resident dies at 91

The Island Now

Norman Hall, a Great Neck Estates resident and director of the popular ABC soap opera “One Life to Live,’’ died on Aug. 15. He was 91.
Hall was an avid supporter of Great Neck/North Shore Public Access Television and served on its Board of Directors from 1994 until this year.
“He shared all of his knowledge consistently,” said Erica Bradley, PATV’s executive director. “He brought us up so many notches. He was an amazing teacher, an amazing mentor and just a good person also.”
Hall found success in the late 1960s when he served as a director for the NBC daytime soap opera “The Doctors.”
His work as a director for “One Life to Live” saw him win a 1983 Emmy award for “Outstanding Direction for a Daytime Drama Series” along with fellow directors Allen Fristoe, Peter Miner and David Pressman.
Hall began serving on PATV’s Board of Directors the year after winning his Emmy, representing the Village of Great Neck Estates on the board.
In 1999, Bradley said, he began serving as president of the board, a position he held until 2007, when he stepped aside and served as the vice president in 2008.
Hall then served as the board’s secretary in 2009, a position he held until he died.
One of his most memorable contributions to PATV, Bradley said, was the creation of the “PATV Playwrights Showcase.”
She said the showcase is a contest that accepts 10-minute play submissions from playwrights across the country.
Two plays are chosen every year and made into a television production, Bradley said, which Hall directed himself.
The current PATV board president, Robert Schaufield, and the rest of the board recently agreed to change the name of the contest and dedicate it to Hall.
It is now called “The Norman Hall Memorial Playwrights Festival.”
PATV’s Studio A control room, which is located  in the PATV facility at 1111 Marcus Ave., will be dedicated in his name as well.
Bradley, who worked for PATV as a technical director before taking the executive director’s position, said Hall often shared his experiences and expertise in directing.
“He brought so many talents,” she said. “I worked, personally, super close with him. He taught me how to edit and how to direct.”
This year, Hall finished directing a play called “The White Chalet” and, before his death, was preparing to direct his own play, “I Can See You.”
Bradley said that in honor of him, she would continue and complete the production of “I Can See You.”
“He’s wanted to do this play for well over a year now,” she said. “We know it’s something that was important to him and now it’s extremely important for us to do it and do it right.”
Charles Wagner IV, a longtime friend of Hall’s, will step in as the director for  the play, Bradley said.
“Having him be a part of the team is amazing and it’ll just bring so much more to this production,” she said.
PATV will be cablecasting a special programming block in honor of Hall starting at noon on Sept. 25.
Hall’s wife, Helene, died on Nov. 28, 2011.
He is survived by his three children, Andrew, Stephen and Eve, and his grandchildren.

By Joe Nikic

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