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Newsom in April 2007
December 3, 1952|
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Ted Newsom (born December 3, 1952) is an American writer, director, producer and actor. Newsom has worked primarily as a documentary filmmaker, specializing in documentaries on the history of the horror and science fiction film.
Early life and education
Son of Vernon and Patricia Newsom; grew up in Portland, OR, Spokane, WA and the San Fernando Valley; served in the US Army 1972-75 as a surgical assistant in Heidelberg, Germany. While in the military, he attended the University of Maryland extension; later, Portland State University, then moved to California, attending UCLA extension, graduating from Los Angeles Pierce College with an AA, and further study at California State University at Northridge, where his teachers included Lucille Ball, Sidney Salkow and producer Ben Brady.
Freelancing for magazines and newspapers led him to magazine editing jobs. With John D. Brancato, Newsom co-wrote The Unofficial NFL Players Handbook, a humor book for Simon & Schuster. The team then collaborated on several screenplays of Marvel Comics characters: Sgt. Fury, Spider-Man, and The Sub-Mariner, working with Stan Lee on these adaptations.
Active in the WGA strike in 1988, Newsom segued into directing and producing video documentaries, notably Flesh and Blood, the Hammer Heritage of Horror, becoming the last director to team the British horror stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, who co-narrated. The first half of the program was broadcast on the BBC four days before Cushing died.
He also made Ed Wood—Look Back in Angora, about legendary B-movie maker Ed Wood, video biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley, and was writer/director of the 26-episode series 100 Years of Horror, again with Christopher Lee as host and narrator.
He served as associate producer on several soundtrack releases of the film music of Ronald Stein, such as Not of This Earth and It Conquered the World. He provided film commentary on a number of DVD releases, notably The Devil Bat with Bela Lugosi, Jr., Day the Earth Caught Fire and Hell is a City with Val Guest, and his own production The Naked Monster, with director Wayne Berwick. He wrote and directed Cinemaker for Charles Band, a video primer on low-budget film production.
Newsom has directed Tab Hunter, Kenneth Tobey, John Agar, Raquel Welch, Margaret O'Brien, Jack Palance, Jack Larson, Linnea Quigley, and Brinke Stevens, with whom he has also written several screenplays (e.g., Teenage Exorcist, Wild Spirit).
Newsom is sometimes credited as Richmond Reed or Reed Richmond, references to a stage name used by John Carradine, whom Newsom "directed" posthumously, two years after the actor's death, in a film for Fred Olen Ray. Occasionally he is confused with Ted Newsome, a noted skateboard writer, photographer and video producer, and/or another "Ted Newsom," a Utah-based videographer and editor who goes by the name of "The Rose Phantom." He appeared on stage in the musical 1776 in Germany, later a Marx Brothers' parody of Hamlet, entitled A Night in Elsinore. He has done narration on numerous documentaries and appeared on-screen in several dozen films by Fred Olen Ray, J.R. Bookwalter, and Ron Ford, among others. He also appeared as "Dr. Cooper" in the here! original series The Lair, which debuted in June 2007.
Newsom and his partner, John Brancato wrote the original first draft screenplay of Spider-Man in 1985 for Joseph Zito who at the time was attached to direct, subsequently rewritten by Barney Cohen in 1986 and polished by Menahem Golan around April of the same year. Interim screenwriters (1987-1988) included Shepard Goldman, Don Michael Paul, Ethan Wiley. Frank LaLoggia, and Neil Ruttenberg for 21st Century Film Corporation in 1989-1990. A draft dated in 1993, available online, also credits James Cameron, although the text itself is identical to Golan's version.
Newsom and many of the other writers on that long-aborning project objected to the award of sole credit to David Koepp without an arbitration or examination of any of the scripts, and a protracted dispute with the WGA and Columbia Pictures ensued. Newsom filed a NLRB complaint on their collective behalf and a subsequent unilateral lawsuit. Presumably the situation was amicably resolved.