Warren Steibel

Active - 1969 - 1969  |   Genres - Crime

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From 1966 until 1999, Warren Steibel was the producer of the public television discussion program Firing Line, hosted by William F. Buckley Jr. A veteran of television arts programming who began to question the one-sided nature of most of the political discussion that he saw on TV in New York in the mid-'60s, Steibel got Firing Line on the air as an alternative in 1966, and for the next three decades, it was a lonely voice in the PBS programming lineup, though he was never personally as conservative as Buckley. The program was frequently praised by critics and conservative ideologues, although some right-wing activists also felt that Firing Line was used as an ideological "fig leaf" by PBS to mask what they felt was its otherwise unadulterated leftist bias and, thus, was defeating its own purpose. Steibel's original goal was to go into film production, but he only ever produced one movie, The Honeymoon Killers (1969). Based on a true story -- the criminal careers of a pair of murderers in New York during the '40s -- the movie went on to become a cult classic in the decades after its release. Martin Scorsese was to have directed it, and a few minutes of footage that he did direct is in the finished movie. Friction between Scorsese (who was just starting out in feature films at the time) and Steibel, however, reportedly led to the future filmmaking legend's leaving the picture after just a few days of work. The movie was ultimately completed (and principally directed) by its screenwriter, Leonard Kastle, whose principal background was as a composer and music professor. Steibel never made another film, but he kept Firing Line going until the end of the '90s. He died of cancer in early 2002.