Twelve Angry Men, Essential Revision Notes
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Reginald Rose was an American film and television writer most widely known for his work in the early years of television drama. Rose's work is marked by its treatment of controversial social and political issues. His realistic approach helped create the slice of life school of television drama, which was particularly influential in the anthology programs of the 1950s.
Born in Manhattan, Rose attended Townsend High School and briefly attended City College (now part of the City University of New York) before serving in the U.S. Army in 1942-46, where he became a first lieutenant.
Rose was married twice, to Barbara Langbart in 1943, with whom he had four children, and to Ellen McLaughlin (not the playwright and actor) in 1963, with whom he had two children. He died in 2002 from complications of heart failure.
He sold his first teleplay, Bus to Nowhere, in 1950 to the live CBS dramatic anthology program Studio One, for which he wrote Twelve Angry Men four years later. This latter drama, set entirely in a room where a jury is deliberating the fate of a teenage boy accused of murder, was inspired by Rose's service on just such a trial. The play was later made into a black-and-white movie.
The Internet Movie Database quotes Rose's memories of this experience:
It was such an impressive, solemn setting in a great big wood-panelled courtroom, with a silver-haired judge, it knocked me out. I was overwhelmed. I was on a jury for a manslaughter case, and we got into this terrific, furious, eight-hour argument in the jury room. I was writing one-hour dramas for Studio One then, and I thought, wow, what a setting for a drama.