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Marvin J. Chomsky, 4-Time Emmy-Winning Director on ‘Roots’ and ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 92

Chomsky won Emmys for his work on ”Attica,“ ”Holocaust,“ ”Inside the Third Reich“ and ”Peter the Great“

Marvin J. Chomsky, a four-time Emmy award winning director of iconic miniseries including “Roots” and “Attica,” as well as shows like “Star Trek,” has died. He was 92.

“Marvin Chomsky made a difference in our world using the medium of motion pictures to both entertain and educate viewers,” his son Peter Chomsky told TheWrap, adding that Chomsky died in his sleep on Monday.

Chomsky famously said upon accepting his third Emmy that his awards had come for directing projects about events that “never should have happened.” And though he was only nominated for 1977’s “Roots,” despite the series winning a historic nine Emmys, he later won directing awards for “Holocaust” (1978), “Attica,” (1980) “Inside the Third Reich” (1982) and “Peter The Great” (1986).

And while he won acclaim for his long career directing projects and miniseries about historical events, Chomsky also did extensive work on series including “Star Trek,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Wild, Wild West,” “Gunsmoke” and “Mission: Impossible,” among others.

In an interview with the Director’s Guild of America, he explained that his stories were never about broad-scale events but always focused on the individual families at their core. In the same interview, he even recounted a story while filming “Holocaust” about instructing a group of extras on how they would be killed by Nazi forces in the concentration camps, only for a cameraman to push back and suggest that the scene was embellished and invented for the movie.

Born in New York, Chomsky’s work in Hollywood dates back to the late 1950s when he worked as an art director and set decorator before moving into both producing and directing, including first on the series “The Doctors and the Nurses” in 1964 and ’65.

Chomsky is survived by his three sons David, Eric and his youngest, Peter (wife Genelle), as well as his only granddaughter Liliana, an actress and aspiring screenwriter. Peter Chomsky is a producer whose credits include the series “Fargo,” “Dead to Me,” “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Charmed,” among others. 

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