An award-winning director of many television and cinema productions, Delbert Mann was born in Kansas in 1920 but grew up in Nashville. In a career that has included 109 live television shows and more than 50 films, Mann has captivated audiences by his treatment of contemporary dramas, classics from England and the continent, comedies, and historical pieces.
The foundation for this spectacular career was laid in Nashville, where he learned drama from Inez Alder at Hume-Fogg High School and from Fritz Kleibacker and Fred Coe at the Nashville Community Playhouse. After graduation from Vanderbilt, where he had been a student leader, Mann served with distinction as a bomber pilot in World War II. He then studied at Yale Drama School and directed the Town Theatre in Columbia, South Carolina.
Fred Coe brought Mann into the world of live television drama in 1949, and Mann won acclaim for Marty in 1953. The Hollywood version of this play won several Academy Awards. In the 1960s Mann directed box-office successes such as Lover, Come Back and That Touch of Mink. In 1967 he was made president of the Directors’ Guild of America.
Awards received by Mann include a Golden Globe Award for All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) and Christopher Awards for Jane Eyre (1971), The Man Without a Country (1973), The Ted Kennedy, Jr. Story (1986), and Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore (1992). He received Emmy nominations for Our Town (1955), Breaking Up (1978), and All Quiet on the Western Front (1979), as well as five Directors’ Guild nominations. Mann’s papers are at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library of Vanderbilt University, where he has long served as a member of the Board of Trust.