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Ethel Winant, Groundbreaker for Women in Television Industry, Has Died

Ethel Winant, who became the first woman to ever hold an executive position at any television network, died on November 29 at age 81. After decades of working as a casting director and then a producer, Winant was made vice-president of CBS in 1973.

Winant started out in the New York theatre working for producer Irene Selznick, director Elia Kazan, and playwright Tennessee Williams. Then a visit to a television studio in the 1950’s changed the course of her career.

"I walked into a rehearsal of Studio One and it was just breathtaking," Winant told The Los Angeles Times. "I was heartsick when the rehearsal was over. They said, 'You can come back tomorrow.' So I went the next day and thought, 'I just want to stay here forever.' I sort of did. I just hung around. I knew eventually someone would want a cup of coffee and I would get it for them."

Other successful television programs that Winant worked on include Playhouse 90, The Twilight Zone, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hawaii Five-0.

Winant won many awards, including a special Emmy for Playhouse 90, two Peabodys, the Humanitas Prize, the Christopher Award, the Alice Award, and the Crystal Award from Women in Film. In 1999, Winant was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Read Ethel Winant’s full obituary at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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