January 15, 2008

Arthur Swerdloff '50

Alumnus Passes Away

By James Tella

Documentary filmmaker and 1950 USC alumnus Arthur Swerdloff passed away on January 14 in Los Angeles. He was 86.

Swerdloff wrote, directed and produced more than 120 documentary and educational films, including the 1951 documentary The Earth Sings, which won awards at the Venice and Edinburgh Film Festivals.

His other award-winning films include Out of Darkness, which won the Robert Flaherty Award in 1955, Heart Behind the Whip, honored with the 1959 Writers Guild Show Selection award and Conquest, which received the documentary Emmy in 1959. He also received five Cine Golden Eagle Awards for his work, among them To Sleep...Perchance to Dream and The Big Dig.

In addition to editing Arch Obler's nuclear cautionary tale Five, the documentarian wrote and produced a number of short educational films dealing with subjects from youth gangs to nuclear war, including What's the Big Hurry? (1970) a driver's education scare film, which he also directed. He also was at the helm of the feature film Roadracers (1959).  

Swerdloff founded SRS Productions and Arthur L. Swerdloff Productions, and worked at CBS Reports, NBC White Paper, Dave Wolper Productions, AIP, UA, NASA, USIA and Walt Disney Productions.

A veteran of World War II, he is survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.