Alvin Boretz was born June 15th, 1919 in New York City to Samuel and Mollie (Milch) Boretz, Polish-Austrian immigrants. After his father's unexpected death in 1921, his mother owned a candy store, and as a result, Alvin always kept a stocked closet full of candy in his office to the delight of his children and grandchildren.

Boretz was proud of his alma maters, Boys High in Brooklyn and Brooklyn College. During his school years, Boretz was drawn towards writing and joined the newspaper staff in hopes of making a career as a reporter. As a first-generation college student aiming for a degree in Psychology, Boretz worked during the day as a copyboy for the New York Evening Journal. When he was let go due to the journal's merger, he continued writing and entered the world of writing for the theater. Boretz wrote and directed his senior class's play "Sounds in the Night." A few years later, during his years at Brooklyn College, Boretz met his wife Lucille Garson after he came to her aid when she tripped outside of a classroom. Lucille was a major source of support for her husband throughout his life. As a sounding board for his ideas and stories, her notes on his works were always honest and encouraging. During their nearly seventy years of marriage, Lucille kept him emotionally grounded in his life and work.

During World War II, Bortez served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 until 1946. After returning home, Boretz called a radio producer to discuss being hired to write scripts. As he humorously and unashamedly admits in an interview, it was through some minor embellishments to his resume and a clear determination to work in the industry that Boretz became a writer for radio.

By 1949, he was writing for hit series like CBS's Big Town and Mutual Radio's game show Quick as a Flash. It was in these early days of radio that Boretz's desire to write stories with challenging topics emerged and began to push conventional media themes. For instance, an episode of the radio show Exploring the Unknown titled "Love is the Doctor" premiered in 1947 and showcased a story about a young couple handling the diagnosis of their son with cerebral palsy. While this story worked for the airwaves due to its relatable characters, the research behind the topic reveals the struggles within the medical profession and the hardships families face. The research on the topic was also a personal one to Boretz since his first child, Stephen, was born with cerebral palsy. Through radio, Boretz perfected the ability to communicate knowledge to his audiences in a familiar yet poignant manner. He wrote that radio helped him to “hone his language skills and develop a flair for penning dialogue.”

Tragedy struck the Boretz family when Alvin and Lucille lost their five-year-old son Stephen to cerebral palsy in 1949 and their three-year-old son Peter to hydrocephalus in 1959. In the years between their two sons, they had two healthy daughters, Jennifer and Carrie.These traumatic family losses led to severe contemplation for Boretz regarding topics of medicine, education, and grief. He processed his pain through his work and used his writings to bring awareness to the public. As he worked to support Lucille and his two daughters, Boretz wrote non-stop and focused most of his energies on the medium of television. While radio "taught him language" and how to love writing, television gave him the freedom to explore a variety of topics that interested him.

As a writer during the Golden Age of Television, Boretz was faced with the decision between working in Los Angeles, where the television business was booming or raising his family in his home state of New York. Despite the draws of living closer to the productions, Boretz’s decision to stay in New York City allowed him to become an active New York-based writer and part of the founding team for the Writers Guild of America – East. He was particularly proud of serving on the committee that negotiated health care for the union members.

Boretz’s move to television came with numerous obstacles, such as network changes, fair wage issues, editing practices, and formulaic templates. To counter these challenges, Boretz continued to write for shows such as The Mod Squad and The Nurses while helping to create series like The Treasury Men (The T-Men). His work on live dramas such as Armstrong Circle Theater, Playhouse 90, and Kraft Television Theater gave him space to play with new plotlines and introduce educational information through his work that otherwise might never be seen onscreen. Throughout his years of writing television series and tv films, Boretz kept his love of learning and educating alive by researching each of his stories to provide the maximum amount of accuracy to all of his writing.

His work in writing films like Brass Target (1978), starring Sophia Loren and John Cassavetes, and plays like Made in America, starring Brian Dennehey, were subject to even more detailed investigations into the settings of each fictional world. Boretz's collection boasts research from his trip to mental health facilities, prisons, and even deep-sea submarine docks.

In addition to his years of writing across various mediums, Boretz kept his love of learning alive by researching each of his stories to provide the maximum amount of accuracy. He was known for his in-depth research and built on his connection to libraries from his youth by making librarians key members of his research teams. He returned his debt to libraries by serving on the board and as president of the Hewlett-Woodmere Library on the south shore of Long Island for many years.

The deep impact of Boretz's career on the media industries still resonates today and, through this website, will continue his legacy into the future.

Alvin Boretz passed away in 2010 and is lovingly remembered by his family. His archive can be viewed in full at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

A link to a biography written by Alvin Boretz's family can be found here.

Alvin, Lucille, Jennifer, and Carrie

"Don't be ashamed to seek help. At sometime in life, everybody needs it. Nobody gets by unscathed." - Alvin Boretz (Newsday 1962)

Alvin and Lucille Boretz

"The big thing is to have the dream...whether you fail or not."Alvin Boretz

Carrie, Alvin, Lucille, and Jennifer Boretz.

"I think that, whatever you write, you get better and better. You always do the best you can, in a way, for yourself." - Alvin Boretz (Contemporary Authors 1986)

"To be a writer, you have to shut up and listen." - Alvin Boretz to Jessie Kahnweiler, his granddaughter