Reginald Rose was born on 10 December, 1920 and died on 19 April, 2002. He was an American writer of both film and television, and was known for addressing contentious subjects through his work.
Rose was born in Manhattan, and attended Townsend Harris High School. He then, for a short time, attended City College which is now part of the City University of New York. In 1942 Rose went on to serve the U.S. Army until 1946, in which he qualified as a first lieutenant.
In 1950, Rose sold his first teleplay, which was called Bus To Nowhere. He sold it to a company called Studio One, which was CBS's live dramatic anthology program. Four years later, Rose went on to write Twelve Angry Men for the same company. Twelve Angry Men was a drama, set completely in one room, in which a jury is trying to decide the verdict of a man accused of manslaughter. Rose was motivated to write this drama following his time in service on a similar jury panel.
Rose said about his memories of the experience: "It was such an impressive, solemn setting in a great big wood-panelled courtroom, with a silver-haired judge, it knocked me out. I was overwhelmed. I was on a jury for a manslaughter case, and we got into this terrific, furious, eight-hour argument in the jury room. I was writing one-hour dramas for Studio One then and I thought, wow, what a setting for a drama."
Rose was awarded an Emmy for the teleplay Twelve Angry Men and was later on nominated for an Oscar for the 1957 feature-length film adaptation.
Following this huge success, Rose’s career continued to prosper. He wrote for the three most influential broadcast networks of the period between 1950 and 1980. In 1961, he devised and wrote on The Defenders. This was a courtroom drama which went on to win two Emmy awards for its writing.
In addition to this, he also participated in film screenwriting. He collaborated with the film producer Euan Lloyd in making four films. These were The Wild Geese, The Sea Wolves, Who Dares Wins and Wild Geese II.
In his private life, Rose married twice. His first wife was Barbara Langbart who he married in 1943, and together they had four children. This marriage did not last, and in 1963 Rose married Ellen McLaughlin, and together they had an additional two children. In 2002, Rose died from heart failure complications.
Rose's writing is most well-known for tackling controversial issues, both social and political. His realistic style helped to influence the slice of life school of television drama. This was especially important in the 1950s anthology programs.
Over the course of his life, Rose majorly influenced the television and film industries. His aptitude to tackle controversial issues, that other writers might shy away from, was truly commendable. It is likely to be this element of his work that lasts the test of time.