LOU DORFSMAN, ICONIC FORMER DESIGN DIRECTOR FOR CBS, IS DEAD AT 90
Lou Dorfsman, the veteran design director who helped mold the image of CBS for more than 40 years, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 22. He was 90.
No graphic artist was more closely associated with the image of CBS through the later half of the 20th Century than Dorfsman, who started as a staff designer for the CBS Radio Network in 1946 and rose through the ranks to become design director for the entire company, a job he held until 1987.
"Lou was a giant in his field, and an integral piece of CBS’s history, legacy and success," said Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. "There are few designers who could match the artistry and intelligence in Lou’s work, or his instincts, which helped build the CBS brand, recognized across the globe, and led to some of television’s most effective marketing campaigns. He had an exacting eye for detail and a great sense of style, and those attributes single-handedly made CBS a leader in this field. We are saddened by his passing, and feel privileged to have had such a remarkable visionary be part of our company’s storied history."
Throughout his time with CBS Dorfsman was credited with its most iconic designs, including print ads for CBS specials such as its report "Of Black America," which showcased a black and white image of an African-American man with half his face painted in stars and stripes of the United States flag, as well as with the memorable slogans like "Re-elected the Most Trusted Man America" for Walter Cronkite’s election coverage in 1972, "Jackie of All Trades" for a Jackie Gleason special, and a one-time only print ad for the CBS series "The Walton’s" that credited the headline "Save the Walton’s," credited with bringing new attention – and life – to the beloved series.
During this time Dorfsman also designed the set of "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” as well as the floor set for CBS’s political convention coverage and graphic placement throughout its iconic Black Rock headquarters. He also implemented a custom-made typeface for all CBS graphic design called CBS Didot, which is still used today.
Ironically, one of his proudest accomplishments was a 35-foot wide, 8' 6" tall wall mural in the CBS employee cafeteria that spelled out 235 gastronomical words in wood, including foods, cooking utensils and other words associated with food, as well as quotes from Alice B. Toklas on sauces, and Longfellow on the beauty of bread and butter. "Essentially," said Dorfsman, "I designed this wall for CBS employees to feast their eyes on while they feasted their palates." The wall, which he titled "Gastrotypographicalassemblage," is currently being restored.
Dorfsman was born in 1918 in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx, graduating in 1939 from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, where he studied art and design and earned a four-year scholarship. Before coming to CBS, he served in World War II where, during the early part of the war worked as a civilian in the Navy’s audio visual program. Before joining the Armed Services, he built displays for the 1939 World’s Fair and also served as an art director for the Reiss Advertising Agency.
Dorfsman came to CBS in 1946 as a Staff Designer in the CBS Art Department. In 1951 he became Art Director of Sales, Promotion and Advertising for the CBS Radio Network, was promoted to Associate Director in 1953, and in 1956 became Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion for the division. In 1956 he was named Vice President of CBS Radio’s Advertising, Promotion and Press Information fuction.
In 1959 Dorfsman moved over to the television side, becoming Creative Director, Sales, Promotion and Advertising for the CBS Television Network. In 1964, he was recruited by CBS President Frank Stanton to become Director of Design for the entire Columbia Broadcasting System, where he was responsible for all printed materials, advertising and promotion for CBS and CBS News, including on-air graphics and printed advertisements for seven different divisions. He was promoted to Vice President and Creative Director for the CBS Broadcast Group in 1968, and later Senior Vice President and Creative Director for Marketing and Communications and Design for the CBS Broadcast Group in 1978. In 1980 he was promoted to Vice President, Corporate Advertising and Design. He retired in 1987 after 41 years with CBS, and at the behest of CBS founder William Paley later became creative director of the Museum of Broadcasting.
Dorfsman received many honors throughout his career, including induction into the Broadcast Promotion and Marketing Executives Hall of Fame in 1987. He was awarded 13 Gold Medals and 23 Awards of Distinctive Merit by the New York Art Directors Club. In 1963 he was awarded the Augustus St. Gaudens Medal by his alma mater, which at the time marked only the second time in 103 years the award was bestowed. His art was published in the 1987 book “Dorfsman & CBS,” and his designs have been exhibited all around the world, including in Japan, Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Israel.
Dorfsman is survived by his wife, Ann, who he met in college, as well as sons Mitchell, and Neil, daughter Elissa, and one grandchild.
About CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) is a mass media company with constituent parts that reach back to the beginnings of the broadcast industry, as well as newer businesses that operate on the leading edge of the media industry. The Company, through its many and varied operations, combines broad reach with well-positioned local businesses, all of which provide it with an extensive distribution network by which it serves audiences and advertisers in all 50 states and key international markets. It has operations in virtually every field of media and entertainment, including broadcast television (CBS and The CW – a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), cable television (Showtime and CBS College Sports Network), local television (CBS Television Stations), television production and syndication (CBS Paramount Network Television and CBS Television Distribution), radio (CBS Radio), advertising on out-of-home media (CBS Outdoor), publishing (Simon & Schuster), interactive media (CBS Interactive), music (CBS Records), licensing and merchandising (CBS Consumer Products), video/DVD (CBS Home Entertainment), in-store media (CBS Outernet) and motion pictures (CBS Films). For more information, log on to www.cbscorporation.com.
Photos are available at cbspressexpress.com
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Jeremy Murphy 212/975-4577 email@example.com