Sumner Jules Glimcher was born on June 4, 1924 in Boston, Massachusetts. Glimcher, Professor Emeritus from NYU, has worked in film, radio and television since he was graduated from Harvard with a degree in Nuclear Physics in 1948. He has spent some two-thirds of his career creating programs; one-third in academe, teaching at Harvard, Columbia and NYU; and lecturing on cruise ships, serving as a consultant and writing from time to time.
He began his career as a page at NBC in New York where, in six years, he worked with many of the greats in the Golden Age of Television; Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, et al, advancing rapidly in production and operations as television grew from four hours daily to eighteen. Then followed three years at Radio Free Europe in Munich during which time he travelled widely throughout all of Europe.
Returning to the United States in 1958 he created International Transmissions, Inc. (ITI), the first independent international voiced news service for radio and television, the precursor of CNN, bringing live news reports from all around the world to U.S. broadcasters.
Subsequently he joined WOR and RKO General in New York as Manager of Foreign News, where in addition to putting the first space shot on television, he also covered the inauguration of John F. Kennedy on location. In 1962 he was recruited by National Educational Television, now known as the Public Broadcasting Service, where he was in charge of bringing programs from abroad to the United States. He was the first broadcaster to initiate a program exchange with NHK in Japan, and imported the first documentaries from the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Norddeutsche Rundfunk in Germany.
He began his academic career in 1963 when he was hired by Columbia University as the Manager of the Center for Mass Communication, a unit devoted to the production and distribution of educational films. Shortly thereafter, he began to teach, ultimately becoming Deputy Chairman of the Department of Radio and Television in Columbia’s Graduate School of the Arts. At that time he was the principal author of “MOVIE MAKING: A GUIDE TO FILM PRODUCTION” published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocketbook Division in paper, which sold over 25,000 copies and became required reading in a number of film schools, including NYU. The book was also published in hardcover by Columbia University Press. During that period he met and recorded a series of interviews with Frances Flaherty, widow of Robert "Nanook of the North" Flaherty, and programmed the International Flaherty Film Seminars for two years.
After a ten-year tenure at Columbia, he left to form his own production company, Mass Communications, Incorporated, in 1972, which enabled him to continue making educational and documentary films, In the early 1970's, he developed a close working relationship with Harvard, his alma mater and created several series of programs on China with John King Fairbank, and several on Japan with Edwin O. Reischauer, at which time he began his extensive travels to East Asia.
In the late 1970's, he was recruited by the Consulate General of Japan to serve as film consultant, helping to inform America about Japan through the broadcast of Japanese films that were shown on American television stations; an activity he continued for twenty years.
He spent academic 1977/78 in Cambridge when Harvard's President Derek Bok appointed him a consultant and asked him to undertake a one-year study and report on the use of media in education. In June, 1978 he completed an 82-page report, recommending that Harvard establish a Video Production Center and put its outstanding faculty on videotape.
Two trips to Taiwan resulted in four films, and that work, along with his consultancy for the Japanese and his work with Fairbank and Reischauer made him a frequent visitor to East Asia. As a result of his knowledge of East Asia, he began to show his slides and films and lecture on China and Japan and led groups of filmmakers and photographers to China, Japan and Hong Kong.
He subsequently became a lecturer on eleven cruises (including two for Princess Lines, one for the Harvard Alumni Association, one for Holland American, two for Crystal Cruises, several for Celebrity, amongst others). After returning from his first cruise he published an illustrated article in Harvard Magazine.
He has also been a consultant to the United Nations and several private institutions. In 1998 he was named the director of the Department of Film, Video and Broadcasting at New York University's School of Continuing Education where he helped create one of the finest film schools on the east coast.
After his early retirement from NYU in 1996 when he was 72 years old, he established and became the president of Westminster Productions, Inc., where he continues his professional activities. He created the series of film screenings titled, “Meet The Filmmaker” wherein he screens independent documentaries on a regular basis for NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences). He is a member of the Harvard Club of New York; The Dutch Treat Club for which he serves as a member of the Board of Governors and also on the Speakers Committee. He is also a member of the Overseas Press Club and the Foreign Press Association. He is just completing his memoir: “A Filmmaker’s Journal,” (ISBN # 978-0-615-60528-9) which as an EBOOK, has embedded in it short excerpts from 22 of his documentaries. He is also preparing a book of images to be titled “Ancient China” of dozens of still images he shot on location some thirty years ago. He is presently editing a series of interviews he conducted with his colleague, John Kenneth Galbraith, whom he interviewed in 1999 when Galbraith was ninety years old. He currently divides his time between his studio/ apartment in New York City and a country cottage in Connecticut.[[File:]]