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Manuscripts – The Julianna Fjeld Papers,...
King Jordan Student Academic Center 1255
Fjeld, Julianna, 1947-
The Julianna Fjeld Papers, 1970-1993
Gallaudet University Archives
Repository: Gallaudet University Archives
Call No.: MSS 194
Creator: Fjeld, Julianna, 1947-
Title: The Julianna Fjeld Papers, 1970-1993
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (5 document boxes)
Abstract: Papers of deaf actor and producer Julianna Fjeld. Includes photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, scripts, awards, and more.
Acquisition Information: Collection created from several donations given to Gallaudet University by Ms. Fjeld in 1994 and 1995.
Processed By: Christopher Shea, October 2013.
Conditions on Use and Access: This collection is open to the public with no restrictions. Photocopies may be made for scholarly research.
Related Material in the Archives:
Born in Minneapolis in 1947, Julianna Field was deaf from birth, although her parents were hearing. She was enrolled in the John Tracy Clinic at Los Angeles, and at young age met actor Spencer Tracy, whose wife operated the clinic. This encounter led her to become interested in show business. Since her father was an Army colonel, the Field family traveled to many different bases around the country, and she studied at several different schools, including the Kansas School for the Deaf, the Percy Hughes School in Syracuse, Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, and the California School for the Deaf. She attended Gallaudet and graduated in 1970, joining the National Theatre of the Deaf.
Early in her acting career, she changed her name from Field to Fjeld, the spelling originally used by her Norwegian ancestors. Fjeld left the NTD to go to Hollywood in 1977, and obtained roles in movies such as Goldengirl, Johnny Belinda, and Hear No Evil. She also worked at Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum, where she led the way in making hearing theater productions accessible to the deaf through the DATE (Deaf Audience Theatre Experience) program. While working at the Taper Forum, she also became a consultant and understudy for the original Los Angeles and Broadway runs of Children of a Lesser God.
While at the NTD, Fjeld had met author Joanne Greenberg and bought the film rights to her book In This Sign for $1. Fjeld spent the next ten years trying to find interest in making a movie based on the book. A screenplay was written by Darlene Craviotto, and Fjeld eventually managed to interest the Hallmark Company in filming the screenplay for their Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie series. Marian Rees and Dorothea Petrie joined Fjeld as producers.
The movie based on In This Sign, retitled Love Is Never Silent, was originally offered to CBS, but the network wanted established stars to headline the project, while Fjeld insisted that the deaf roles in the movie must be played by deaf actors. The disagreement could not be resolved, so the production moved to NBC, which agreed to cast deaf actors, including Fjeld herself. This marked one of the highest-profile performances by deaf actors on television. Love Is Never Silent aired in December 1985 to critical acclaim and was nominated for five Emmys the next year, winning two.
Afterward, Fjeld embarked on a lecture tour and created her own theatrical company, White Rose Productions; white roses had long been her personal trademark. She has also worked as an artistic director for the NTD, a producer for Deaf Mosaic, and a counselor and educational coordinator for abused deaf women. As of this writing, she continues to work as a producer, director, and actor in the Bay Area.
Scope and Content
The bulk of these papers is devoted to Fjeld’s activities in 1985 and 1986 – the filming and broadcast of Love Is Never Silent in 1985 and the Emmy and other award ceremonies that followed in 1986, as well as her visits to deaf schools that year. Much of the material is in the form of news clippings, in particular clippings from show business trade papers such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Also included are original drafts of the In This Sign/Love Is Never Silent script, alternate script pages, correspondence and other material produced during filming, and letters of congratulation to Fjeld on the broadcast and the awards.
MSS 10 has more on the making of Love Is Never Silent, in particular Fjeld’s correspondence with author Joanne Greenberg and letters of support for the use of deaf actors that Fjeld gathered.
Also present is some fragmentary material on Fjeld’s activities before and after 1985, including theater and television productions, in particular a 1978 appearance on the children’s program Captain Kangaroo. Some clippings on her post-Emmy speaking tour of deaf schools in the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest are included.
Series 1: Correspondence and clippings, 1979-1993
A collection of material related to Fjeld’s career, in particular newspaper and magazine clippings on her activities at the NTD, on the stage, and on TV, as well as interviews and articles on school visits she made. Also included are some general clippings on subjects of interest to Fjeld, such as deaf actors and Gallaudet.
Of particular interest is a file of correspondence between Fjeld and Katharine Hepburn about various aspects of the entertainment business. This series also includes the text of a speech Fjeld gave at the celebrations for Gallaudet’s 125th anniversary in 1989 on the university’s future in entertainment.
Series 2: Love Is Never Silent papers, 1984-1987
Based on Joanne Greenberg’s 1970 novel In This Sign, Love Is Never Silent is a TV movie about the hearing daughter of deaf parents. Mare Winningham played the daughter, while deaf actors Phyllis Frelich and Ed Waterstreet played her parents. Sid Caesar, Cloris Leachman, Lou Fant, and Fjeld also had roles, and the movie was directed by veteran Joseph Sargent. The movie was originally broadcast on NBC in December 1985, and after winning numerous awards, including two Emmys, it was shown again in December 1986.
This series includes a wide variety of papers from the production and initial broadcast of Love Is Never Silent. It includes a first draft of the script and a set of alternate script pages produced during filming, correspondence and memoranda between the producers (Fjeld, Petrie, and Rees), articles on the filming, reviews of the movie from TV critics at various newspapers and magazines, advertisements and television listings for the movie, letters of congratulation from viewers and Fjeld’s friends, and public relations materials. See series 6 for photographs from the filming of this movie.
Series 3: Love Is Never Silent Emmy awards and other awards papers, 1986-1987
Love Is Never Silent was nominated for five Emmy awards in 1986, and won two, including Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special and Outstanding Direction in a Miniseries or Special. As a co-executive producer of the movie, Fjeld shared in the former award.
Besides the Emmys, Love Is Never Silent won many other awards, including the following:
It was also nominated for, but did not win, a Humanitas Award.
The bulk of this series is clippings of news articles about Love Is Never Silent’s various nominations and awards, along with ads taken out in Hollywood trade publications urging consideration of the movie for an Emmy and congratulating Fjeld and the other winners. Also included is correspondence from Fjeld’s co-executive producer, Marian Rees, and the various award-granting institutions; letters of congratulation from Fjeld’s friends; and programs from award ceremonies. See series 6 for photographs from the Emmy ceremony as well as candid photographs of Fjeld with her Emmy statue. Series 7 includes the three Media Access Awards Fjeld won.
Series 4: Hallmark Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary ceremony program and invitation, 1991
Love Is Never Silent was featured in a retrospective film festival held in 1991 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series. Included here are a program book from the festival and invitations to a tribute dinner, as well as a news clipping on the festival. See series 6 for a photograph from this event.
Series 5: Captain Kangaroo correspondence and scripts, 1971-1978
In 1978, Fjeld and Timothy “Timi” Near appeared in a segment of the popular syndicated children’s show Captain Kangaroo. They demonstrated the fingerspelling alphabet and American Sign Language (ASL), and told and acted out “Little Red Riding Hood” using ASL. This series includes correspondence between Fjeld and the Captain Kangaroo producers arranging the visit, drafts of a script for the segment, a press release and some media clippings on Captain Kangaroo, and a collection of mail from viewers of the program, as well as letters to Fjeld from her friends and associates on the appearance.
Series 6: Photographs, 1986-1987
A collection of photographs and negatives from Fjeld’s life and career. Of particular interest is an album of candid snapshots taken during the filming of Love Is Never Silent. This series also includes some still photos used to publicize Love Is Never Silent, some photos from Fjeld’s time with the National Theatre of the Deaf, and an extensive set of photos of a Gallaudet University football game, as well as a collection of location photos taken around the Gallaudet campus, accompanied by notes on the area for a potential film project.
Series 7: Artifacts, 1985-1986
A small collection of objects donated by Fjeld, including a personalized “WITROSE” California license plate, three Media Access Awards statuettes won by Love Is Never Silent, and a custom-bound first draft of the Love Is Never Silent screenplay inscribed to Fjeld by writer Darlene Craviotto. It also includes the evening gown Fjeld wore at the Emmy awards ceremony, as well as a blazer with a Gallaudet College crest that she wore in 1970.
Series Description and Folder Lists
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
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