In Twilight Zone reruns, I search for my father in the man on the screen, but I can’t always find him there. Instead, he appears in unexpected ways. Memory summoned by a certain light, a color, a smell—and I see him again on the porch of our old red lakeside cottage, where I danced on the steps as a child.
To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she knew. Her fun-loving dad would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames for everyone in the family, and was apt to put a lampshade on his head and break out in song. He was her best friend, her playmate, and her confidant.
After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief by talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories. Now she shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters, and beautifully rendered scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family’s time together. Idyllic summers in upstate New York, the years in Los Angeles, and the myriad ways he filled their time with laughter, strength, and endearing silliness—all are captured here with deep affection and candor.
Though begun in loss, Anne’s story is a celebration of her extraordinary relationship with her father and the qualities she came to prize through him—empathy, kindness, and an uncompromising sense of social justice. As I Knew Him is a lyrical, intimate tribute to Rod Serling’s legacy as visionary, storyteller, and humanist, and a moving testament to the love between fathers and daughters.
Praise for As I Knew Him
“A tender, thoughtful and very personal portrait of American genius Rod Serling.” --Alice Hoffman
“Full of new revelations…the best glimpse we’re likely to get of Rod Serling and the maelstrom he moved in.” --James Grady
“Thanks to Anne Serling’s haunting and beautifully written memoir, readers will come to know Rod Serling in a personal way, as I did.” --Robert Redford
“It was my privilege to know Rod Serling. He was as interesting off screen as on.” --Betty White
“Rod Serling captured our imaginations by asking us to do something I have learned is vital as a physician–to question what we perceive as reality!” --Dr. Mehmet Oz