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 Don Herbert

Don Herbert

Birth
Waconia, Carver County, Minnesota, USA
Death 12 Jun 2007 (aged 89)
Ventura County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered
Memorial ID 19861079 · View Source
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Actor. He is fondly remembered for his role of television's Mr. Wizard during the 1950s and early 1960s, in which he popularized science for children, providing them with insight into the way nature works. It is believed that millions of children were influenced into studying science as a career due to his work in making the subject interesting. Born Donald Jeffrey Herbert in Waconia, Minnesota, he attended La Crosse State Normal College (now the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse), studying drama. However, feeling that drama didn't pay as well, he obtained Bachelor's Degrees in 1940 in General Science and English. He married a college sweetheart, Maraleita Dutton in 1939; after three children, the marriage would end in divorce. When the United States entered World War II, he enlisted as a Private, and following basic training, became a pilot of a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. Assigned to Italy, he completed 56 missions over Northern Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia, while being promoted to Captain and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal (4 awards). When the war ended, he left the Army to return to civilian life, working at a radio station in Chicago. In 1949, he began a documentary style health program for children called "It's Your Life" in which he would later claim sparked the idea of Mr. Wizard and making simple science experiments on the new medium of television. Selling the idea to the local Chicago NBC station, the weekly series began on March 3, 1951, as "Watch Mr. Wizard," in which he performed interesting science experiments with children assisting him. Within three years, more than 100 stations were broadcasting his show. He would make 547 episodes before the series was cancelled in 1965. Unlike many shows, he would encourage children to repeat the experiments at home, helping children to develop an appreciation for science by showing that scientists were just ordinary people who liked nature and how it worked. The show was briefly revived by NBC in the 1971-1972 season. During this period, Herbert married Norma Kasell in 1972; they would raise three children and stepchildren. Following the cancellation of his show, Herbert produced science films for high schools and wrote several books on science oriented for the young teenager. In 1983, Herbert created "Mr. Wizard's World," a newer and more challenging version of the "Watch Mr. Wizard" for the Nickelodeon channel. The show ran seven seasons, and was rerun another ten years. Beginning in 1994, Herbert created a series of 15-minute spots for Nickelodeon called "Teacher to Teacher with Mr. Wizard" during which Herbert would introduce various elementary science teachers and their projects. Herbert was awarded a Peabody Award in 1954 for his work on television. He died in at his home in Bell Canyon, California of bone cancer.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 12 Jun 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19861079
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Don Herbert (10 Jul 1917–12 Jun 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19861079, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered.