Remembering John Korty: Oscar Winner Died at 85

Even though we’re still fairly early on in 2022, there have already been some major losses – particularly among people in the entertainment industry. Now, there is yet another name added to the list of people we’ve lost so far. On March 9, 2022, Oscar-winning director John Korty passed away at the age of 85. Korty’s career spanned the course of just over 50 years, and during that time he got to work with some of the industry’s biggest talents. Although his death has certainly left a hole in the hearts of those who loved him most and knew him best, they can also find some comfort in the fact that John’s name will live on for many years to come thanks to all of the things he contributed to the world of movies and TV shows. Keep reading to learn more about the life and legacy of John Korty.

John’s Life

John Korty was born and raised in the Lafayette, IN area and it was there where he fell in love with the arts. According to an article from Film Comment, “I had interests in music and art and writing and everything, and they were all separate things in my mind”. He continued, “When I saw McLaren’s films, I thought, ‘Wait a minute. Film is the one thing you can do that combines all these different elements.’ From that moment on, I was hooked on the idea of becoming a filmmaker”. He started his filmmaking journey when he was a teenager and by the time he graduated college, he knew that it was something he wanted to do on a serious level. He earned his first writing and directing credit in 1961 with a short documentary called The Language of Faces. Although it would be a few more years before his next project, John really hit his stride during the 1960s.

In 1964, he released a short documentary called Breaking the Habit which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject. John kept the momentum going throughout the 1970s. In 1974, he won his first major award when he earned an Emmy for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman which starred Cicely Tyson in the title role. He won his Academy Award just a few years later in 1977 for the documentary Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? In addition to his film work, John also worked on several TV shows including Sesame Street. John’s creativity was unmatched and his love for storytelling was evident in everything that he did. John earned his final writing, production, and directing credits in 2011 with a project called John Allair Digs In.

While John’s professional accomplishments were widely known, the same can’t be said when it comes to his personal life. Like most people who enjoy being behind the scenes, John was always a fairly private person. He wasn’t active on social media and he didn’t do very many interviews. What we do know, however, is that he was married and had three children.

John’s Death

Although John passed away on March 9, news of his death didn’t reach the internet until March 15 when his obituary was posted in the Marin Independent Journal. This is likely due to the fact that John was such a private person. The article did not mention Korty’s cause of death and it’s unclear whether he had been dealing with some health issues in recent years. In addition to his wife and children, John was also survived by two siblings: one brother and one sister.

When talking about his father, Gabriel, one of John’s sons, said, “He was very committed to his work. He was kind of forward thinking, and creative from such an early age … ahead of his time in many ways.” At the time of his passing, John was working on some projects. However, it’s unclear whether any of those projects will ever be released. Information regarding John’s services has not been made public. However, there’s a very good chance that the family has already held a funeral in private.

John’s Legacy

Even if you’ve never been a part of the entertainment industry, you know that it isn’t an easy field to build a long-lasting career in. For that reason, all of the things that John was able to accomplish are incredibly impressive. Not only did he entertain countless people, but he also inspired many other creatives. Those who loved him can be confident in the fact that his hard work didn’t go unnoticed and his legacy will continue to live on.

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