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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Wynn, Earl Raymond

by William S. Powell, 1996

25 Nov. 1911–17 Sept. 1986

Earl Raymond Wynn, educator and actor, was born in Coal Valley, Ill., the son of Zadoc Hardin and Mary Jane Ziegler Wynn. He was graduated from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., in 1932 and received an M.A. degree from Northwestern University in 1934. Wynn taught English and speech at Tarkio College in Missouri and speech at Northwestern. In 1938 he joined the faculty of The University of North Carolina, first in the dramatic arts and then in charge of radio. From 1947 until his retirement he was professor of radio, television, and motion pictures.

In the early 1940s, from Chapel Hill, Wynn produced and directed the program Men of Action for the Mutual Broadcasting System coast-to-coast network. During World War II, as an officer in the Naval Reserve, he was writer-producer for training films. At the university he introduced the idea of a communications center as well as organized and helped to develop it. He also was executive director of the North Carolina Communications Study Commission and executive secretary of the North Carolina Educational Radio-Television Commission.

Wynn was an actor in several summer outdoor dramatic productions: The Lost Colony, Unto These Hills, and The Legend of Daniel Boone, among others. He directed and performed in a number of Carolina Playmaker productions and contributed articles to journals on speech, television, radio, and acting. He retired in 1977 but occasionally taught classes until 1982.

In 1939 he married Irene Grace Schwartzinger; they were divorced, and in 1951 he married Rhoda Mabel Hunter. He was the father of two children, Stacy Hunter and Sherry.


Chapel Hill, Daily Tar Heel, 18 Sept. 1986.

Raleigh News and Observer, 18 Sept. 1986.

Who's Who in the South and Southwest, vol. 12 (1971).

Additional Resources:

McCauley, Tricia.  "RTVMP alumni pay tribute to Wynn,"  Carolina Communicator, January 2001. (accessed February 18, 2014).

Parker, Barry. "With Him, There's No Lack of Communication," News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 23, 1972.