In Memoriam – Marty Norden

It’s the kind of email you never want to receive. At the end of last month, I got the news that Martin “Marty” Norden passed away from lymphoma at the age of 71. 

Longtime NEPCA members are familiar with Marty’s many contributions to this organization. In addition to sharing his considerable expertise in film studies on numerous panels, he was NEPCA’s president (2017–18). 

Marty obtained his Ph.D. in speech and dramatic art from the University of Missouri-Columbia, his springboard to pursuing interests in film, radio, television, and theater. He was a professor in the Department of Communication at UMass Amherst for over 45 years. Marty was a core faculty member and energetic contributor to the interdisciplinary UMass Film Studies Program.

Marty’s interests were far-ranging and included disability studies, horror films, and how television and movies represented evil. He loved theater as both an academic and a participant. He took part in more than 40 productions at UMass and Smith College. 

I knew Marty professionally, but he became a personal friend during our planning for NEPCA’s 2017 conference at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It was the largest in-person NEPCA gathering in decades. Marty worked tirelessly to find money in the UMass budget–never an easy task–so that attendee fees could remain low. We bonded more deeply as we co-edited Pop Culture Matters (2018). Later, Marty, my wife Emily, and I shared a meal and Marty regaled us with his research on pioneering female director Lois Weber, the subject of one of his numerous books. 

True to his nature, Marty continued teaching until just a few weeks before his passing, when illness made it impossible to continue. Marty leaves behind a daughter, Erika, and a son, Toby.

Those who knew Marty recall that he was the perfect combination of attention to detail, generosity, and kindness. I shall miss him tremendously, a sentiment I’m sure all those who knew him share. 

Rob Weir

Emeritus Executive Secretary

One thought on “In Memoriam – Marty Norden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.