"I love the whole atmosphere of the law. Not so much the adversarial aspects of it as much as the intellectual aspects of it. It's fascinating to study law and it was a whole new world."
About This Interview
In his four-hour Archive interview, Dixon Dern talks about his early career working as an in-house attorney for the animation production company United Productions of America, and talks about how his work was affected by the Blacklist. He discusses working in the legal department as an associate counsel at CBS, and recalls his involvement with series Perry Mason and See It Now (including an incident when his life was threatened). He describes in detail his years as the head of the legal department at Desilu, working closely with studio head Desi Arnaz. He describes many of the legal issues that arose with the detective series The Untouchables, including a lawsuit filed by the family of Al Capone. Next, he talks about working at United Artists Television, and describes the development of the sitcom Gilligan's Island. He discusses his later work in private practice, representing clients such as Creative Artists Agency (since its inception) and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (including during its split with the National Academy in the mid-1970s). Michael Rosen conducted the interview in Los Angeles, CA on October 10, 2003. Karen Herman conducted a followup interview in Los Angeles, CA on May 7, 2009 wherein Dern discusses his continued work with the Television Academy, as well as his opinions on the challenges facing content creators and distributors in the age of new media.