Marvin J. Chomsky
Born(1929-05-23)May 23, 1929
New York City, U.S.
DiedMarch 28, 2022(2022-03-28) (aged 92)
EducationSyracuse University
Stanford University
  • Director
  • producer
Spouse(s)Tobye Kaplan (divorced)
Christa Baum (separated)
RelativesNoam Chomsky (cousin)

Marvin Joseph Chomsky (May 23, 1929 – March 28, 2022) was an American director and producer who worked both in television and film.

Early life and career

Chomsky, born in the Bronx, is the son of Jewish parents who immigrated from the Russian Empire.[1] He attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, during which time he began working in radio, and later on, for a television show aimed at teenagers, while the medium was still in its early stages.[2] He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in speech in 1950, and from Stanford University with a master's degree in drama the following year.[2][3] He also served in the U.S. Army, before pursuing a career in film and television.[2] His early jobs included work as an art director, set decorator, and producer.[4]

Chomsky was a prolific television director, and his career spanned from 1964 to 1995. During the late 1960s, Chomsky directed episodes of The Wild Wild West.[2] He also directed episodes of Star Trek, Gunsmoke, and Hawaii Five-O.[2] He also directed made-for-TV movies such as Brink's: The Great Robbery (1976), Victory at Entebbe (1976), Attica (1980) and Billionaire Boys Club (1987). During the 1970s, Chomsky served as one of the directors for the miniseries Roots (1977), and he worked on other miniseries such as Holocaust (1978), Inside the Third Reich (1982) and Peter the Great (1986). He directed Vanessa Redgrave in the 1982 TV movie, My Body, My Child, the miniseries The Brotherhood of the Rose (1989) with Robert Mitchum, Peter Strauss and David Morse, and the TV movie Catherine the Great (1995), starring Catherine Zeta-Jones.[2]

His feature film directing credits include Evel Knievel (1971), Live A Little, Steal A Lot (1975), Mackintosh and T.J. (1976), Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979) and Tank (1984).[citation needed]


Chomsky was the winner of Four Emmy Awards: Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for Holocaust in 1978;[5] Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special for Attica in 1980[6] and for Inside the Third Reich in 1982,[7] and Outstanding Miniseries Peter the Great in 1986. (NATAS, IMDb)

Personal life

Chomsky was married twice, first to Tobye Kaplan, until their divorce, and then to Christa Baum, from whom he was separated at the time of his death.[2] He had three sons, including Peter Chomsky, who is also a television producer.[2][8] He was a cousin of linguist Noam Chomsky.[9]

Chomsky died under hospice care in Santa Monica, California, on March 28, 2022, aged 92.[10]


  1. ^ "Marvin Chomsky, who won Emmy for influential TV series 'Holocaust,' dies at 92". The Times of Israel. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sandomir, Richard (April 14, 2022). "Marvin Chomsky, Director of 'Roots' and 'Holocaust,' Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Notable Alumni". Syracuse University. Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Jason Buchanan (2012). "Marvin J. Chomsky". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  5. ^ Norback, Craig T.; Norback, Peter G. (1980). TV Guide Almanac. Ballantine Books. p. 333. ISBN 9780345285669.
  6. ^ Bellafante, Ginia. "Attica". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  7. ^ Moser, James D.; Stevens, Tracy; Pay, William; Thompson, Patricia (1998). International Motion Picture Almanac 1998. Quigley. pp. 70. ISBN 9780900610608.
  8. ^ Beresford, Trilby (March 29, 2022). "Marvin J. Chomsky, 'Star Trek' and 'Roots' Director, Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  9. ^ Juneau, Jen (March 31, 2022). "Marvin J. Chomsky, Four-Time Emmy-Winning Roots and Star Trek Director, Dead at 92". People. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  10. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 29, 2022). "Marvin J. Chomsky Dies: 'Roots' & 'Star Trek' Director Who Won Four Emmys Was 92". Deadline.