John Mansfield, former NOVA executive producer, dies at 84 | NOVA



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The Emmy-winning tv producer and author, who served as NOVA EP from 1980-1984, died on Sunday, Jan. 17.

Emmy Award-winning tv producer and author John Mansfield served at WGBH Boston as NOVA’s govt producer from 1980 to 1984. Picture courtesy of Laura Mansfield from the guide, Nova: Adventures in Science, Addison-Wesley publishers, 1982

Emmy Award-winning tv producer and author John Mansfield died on Sunday, Jan. 17 at age 84. Mansfield served at WGBH Boston as NOVA’s govt producer from 1980 to 1984 after producing, directing, and writing greater than 100 movies for the BBC, together with documentary movies for its science collection, Horizon.

Throughout Mansfield’s tenure as govt producer, NOVA gained a number of nationwide and worldwide awards—together with a Peabody and Emmy award for The Miracle of Life—and have become considered one of PBS’ hottest choices. Mansfield govt produced dozens of NOVA movies throughout his time at WGBH, together with Anatomy of a Volcano, on the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption; Check-Tube Infants: A Daughter for Judy, on America’s first in vitro fertilization and “test-tube child”; and It’s About Time, on the character of time.

“We’re so grateful for the early, pioneering work that John did to assist set up NOVA and put the collection on such agency footing that now, 37 years later, we’re nonetheless going sturdy,” NOVA Co-Govt Producer Chris Schmidt says.

“He completely cherished his time at NOVA and at WGBH,” Mansfield’s daughter, Laura Mansfield, wrote in an e mail. “He described the interview to get the job…as a rare and humbling expertise—apparently you needed to be interviewed by a panel of all of the NOVA producers who would in the end work in your crew—a bit like a papal election.”

Laura provides that her father, initially from the UK, additionally cherished the “easy pleasures” of dwelling in Boston: the maples altering colour within the fall, snowplowing throughout “the large winters” (“not like something we would skilled in London at the moment,” she says), and having fun with sushi, lobster, and Rockport, Mass’ chocolate ice cream.

Mansfield “was a particularly reasonable individual,” says NOVA Senior Collection Producer Melanie Wallace, who was employed by Mansfield as a researcher in 1983. “I knew he got here from the BBC and from NOVA’s sister collection HORIZON. And I used to be actually nervous to satisfy him,” Wallace says of her interview for the place. “He grilled me.”

However after hiring Wallace as an entry-level worker, Mansfield shortly gave her a increase, having heard she was doing the identical work as her senior counterpart.

“That completely modified my lifetime job trajectory for the higher,” Wallace says. “Clearly he didn’t have to do this, however he noticed the large image and stated ‘sure.’ That exhibits real compassion, I imagine.”

After returning to London in 1984, Mansfield mentored TV producers “from Singapore to Syria,” Laura Mansfield says, and wrote a number of award-winning coaching movies and manuals within the course of.

“Rising up I noticed how a lot selection his job provided and the way it enabled him to journey all over the world and delve into so many alternative topics and meet so many alternative and interesting folks,” says Laura, who initially had “no intention” of following in her father’s footsteps, however now works as a artistic director at Define Productions in London.

Mansfield is survived by his spouse of 52 years, Fiona; daughters Laura and Tessa; and grandchildren Amber, Lily, Oscar, and Arlo.

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