December 25th 1924 - June 28th 1975
Rod was born in Syracuse, New York, to a Jewish couple, Esther and Samuel Serling. From a young age Rod enjoyed being the center of attention. In the basement of the new home that his family moved to in Binghamton, a small city outside of Syracuse, he built a small stage to put on shows and often would perform for the neighborhood children. Even from a young age Rod found an interest in the radio and writing, citing Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin as two of his favorite writers.
World War II had already begun when Rod was nearing his completion of high school and in the end he opted to join the military rather than go to college. By his graduation in 1943 the United States were already heavily entrenched overseas. He began his service in Georgia in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division. He first saw combat in 1944 in the Battle of Leyte Gulf where his platoon was used as light infantry to clean up the fight beforehand rather than as paratroopers. He was eventually transferred to the 511th demolition platoon sometimes referred to as "The Death Squad". There were several reasons for this one of the main ones being that he didn't follow orders well and would often wander off exploring on his own, often getting lost. By the end of his military service he was awarded the Purple Heart, for being shot twice on a mission, The Bronze Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. A lot of his work on The Twilight Zone can be linked to recurring nightmares after the war and PTSD.
Beloved icon and innovator of his time he can be linked back to being an influence to many of the great directors and artists of his generation and of the modern age. His love for sci-fi and non-fiction gave him a unique and different perspective on the world. Rod actually left behind a $250,000 movie-studio deal to create the thirty minute episode show we have come to love as The Twilight Zone. People thought that he was crazy and even though he was not the sanest of men he saw a vast amount of potential in T.V. and putting shows on air. He thought it ridiculous that other people weren't taking advantage of it and decided to go through with the series. Luckily for us, he did.