Lynne Littman

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Lynne Littman
Born (1941-06-26) June 26, 1941 (age 75)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Film director, producer
Spouse(s) Taylor Hackford (m. 1977–87)
Children 1

Lynne Littman (born June 26, 1941)[1] is an American film and television director and producer.

Her most famous work is Testament (1985) and she has won several awards including an Academy Award for her documentary short film Number Our Days (1976).[2]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Littman was born June 26, 1941 in New York City. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. She also studied at The Sorbonne, Paris, from 1960 to 1961.[2]


Littman began her career in the industry by working as a secretary for WNET (New York). In the following years she worked at a number of freelance jobs in different areas of film. It was until the 1970s when she began working for National Education Television. It is here that she began to explore her future in of film journalism.[2]

Commonly she worked with Mort Silverstein, who was known for having a passion for hard hitting news practices. Together they made a follow up documentary to Edward R. Murrow’s Harvest of Shame, named What Harvest for the Reaper. She would go on to make several award winning documentary shorts including The Matter of Kenneth (1973). Her most notable short documentary film was Number Our Days (1983), which was based on the field work of anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff, this film would win her an Academy Award in 1977.[2]

Littman’s first feature film was Testament (1985), about a family struggling to survive after a nuclear fallout. The film is based on a short story called "The Last Testament" by Carol Amen. Littman had been reading the story with her son, when she had the idea to adapt it. Many had wanted to obtain the film, however Littman had managed to secure the rights first.[3] She immediately went about trying to find money for the film. Eventually, a producer at PBSAmerican Playhouse gave her $500,000 for a 60-minute movie that would involve no studio interference. However the budget had to be expanded to $750,000 when the screenwriter turned a script for a 90-minute film which was well-received by all involved. Littman stated how proud she was that the film was completed under budget, yet the editing process had taken five months longer than the standard television film.[3] The film was a success upon release and garnered an Academy Award nomination for the lead actress, Jane Alexander.

Following Testament, Littman made films infrequently. In 1999 she made two films, Freak City, and Having Our Say. Which were both aired on television on the same day, and in the same time-slot.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Littman was married to Taylor Hackford from 1977 to 1987. She has one child, Alexander Hackford, as well as a step son, Rio Hackford.[4] In 1985 she took a ten year hiatus from film making to raise her child.[2]


The moving image collection of Lynne Littman is held at the Academy Film Archive.[5]


  • In the Matter of Kenneth (1973)
  • Number Our Days (1976)
  • Once a Daughter (1980)
  • Testament (1983)
  • In Her Own Time (1985)
  • Cagney & Lacey: True Convictions (1996)
  • Freak City (1999)
  • Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999)
  • Testament at 20 (2003)

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Littman has won or has been nominated for multiple awards for both her theatrical and television movies. These include winning an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary in 1977 for Number Our Days. She has also four Los Angeles Emmy Awards, from 1972-74, and in 1977.[2] As well four Cine Golden Eagle nominations for Running My Way (1982) and In Her Own Time (1985).[4]

Award Year Film Result
Academy Award for Best Short Documentary 1977 Number Our Days Won
Cine Golden Eagle 1982 Running My Way Nominated
Cine Golden Eagle 1985 In Her Own Time Nominated


  1. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Scarecrow Press. p. 342. ISBN 0810863782. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Szymczak, Jerome (1999). St. James Woman Filmakers Encyclopedia. Visible Ink. pp. 240–242. ISBN 1578590922. 
  3. ^ a b Benson, S (1983). "Lynne Littman's 90-Minute Lifetime". Film Comment, XIX(6). 
  4. ^ a b Ault, Susanne (1999). "Mom settles back into director's chair". Variety. 
  5. ^ "Lynne Littman Collection". Academy Film Archive.