On This Day … 20 November

People (Births)

  • 1916 – Charles E. Osgood, American psychologist (d. 1991).
  • 1920 – Douglas Dick, American actor and psychologist (d. 2015).

Charles E. Osgood

Charles Egerton Osgood (20 November 1916 to 15 September 1991) was an American psychologist and professor at the University of Illinois. He was known for his research on behaviourism versus cognitivism, semantics (he introduced the term “semantic differential), cross-culturalism, psycholinguistic theory, and peace studies. He is credited with helping in the early development of psycholinguistics. Charles Osgood was recognised, distinguished and highly honoured psychologist throughout his career.

Career

Osgood attended Dartmouth College where he intended to graduate and work as a writer for newspapers. During his second year, he enrolled in a class taught by Theodore Karwoski, thus inspiring him to switch his major in order to pursue a degree in psychology.

Charles Osgood earned his B.A. in 1939 from Dartmouth, and in the same year, married Cynthia Luella Thornton. Osgood then went on to study at Yale University where he completed his Ph.D. in 1945. During his time at Yale, he worked as an assistant for Robert Sears, and collaborated with the likes of Arnold Gesell, Walter Miles, Charles Morris, and Irvin Child. However, the person with the greatest influence on his career and future work was Clark Hull. Though Osgood was heavily influenced through working alongside Hull; he stated the experience was one of the determining reasons for him pursuing a career as a researcher, rather than a clinician.

Osgood was a social psychologist interested in psycholinguistics, and research. He was an instructor at Yale from 1942 to 1946, where he earned his doctorate degree. He worked for the US Office of Scientific Research and Development 1946 to 1947, serving as a research associate that worked on training of B-29 gunners. During this period, Osgood also worked as an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut from 1946 to 1949. Osgood then went on to become an associate professor at the University of Connecticut from 1949 to 1952, and eventually as professor of psychology and communications from 1952 onward. He completed a majority of his work during his time at the University of Illinois, Urbana, which, along with the Institute of Communications, funded many of his works. Osgood would often submit himself to his own experiments get a better grasp of what his subjects may experience. At Illinois, Osgood was active in aiding in the hiring processes, and even arranged interviews for women at the university during times when women were facing sexism in the field of psychology. From 1957 to 1965, Osgood served as the Director of the Institute of Communications Research, and starting in 1965, he became the Director of the Centre for Advanced Study. He was also elected as the director of the Centre of Comparative Psycholinguistics at the university from 1963 to 1982.

In addition to this, Osgood completed a fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University from 1958 to 1959; and was given an honorary doctorate from the Dartmouth College in 1962. Osgood also acted as a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii from 1964 to 1965.

Douglas Dick

Douglas Harvey Dick (20 November 1920 to 19 December 2015) was an American actor and occasional screenwriter. His most famous role came in the 1948 film Rope. In 1971, Dick left the entertainment industry to work as a psychologist.

Early Years

Dick was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and raised in Versailles, Kentucky. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gamble C. Dick, and he had a brother, Gamble C. Dick Jr. He attended the University of Arizona and the University of Kentucky.

Before he began working in films, Dick appeared in several shows in New York and was a model for the Conover agency. One issue of Look magazine featured his picture on the cover.

Military Service

Dick did patrol duty with the United States Coast Guard and served as an aviator in the United States Navy, receiving a medical discharge from the latter.

Film

Dick’s film debut was in The Searching Wind (1946). Producer Hal B. Wallis met Dick in a Broadway agent’s office as Dick was waiting for an interview. Wallis had Dick make a screen test in New York City. The test, along with those of five other prospects, was shown to 300 women employees of Wallis’ studio. Dick was the clear favourite when the women were polled, and his role in The Searching Wind was the result. His best known film role is Kenneth Lawrence in the Alfred Hitchcock film classic Rope (1948). Among his other notable films are The Red Badge of Courage (1951) and Something to Live For (1952).

Television

On television, Douglas Dick is best known for his role as Carl Herrick in the television series, Waterfront (1954-1955).

Dick appeared once on Jim Davis’ syndicated adventure series, Rescue 8. Additionally, he made two appearances on Lloyd Bridges’ syndicated adventure series, Sea Hunt. He made seven guest appearances on Perry Mason throughout the duration of the CBS series from 1957 to 1966. In 1959, he played Fred Bushmiller in the title role in “The Case of the Watery Witness.” In the 1962 episode, “The Case of the Glamorous Ghost,” he played Walter Richey, a hotel clerk and the murder suspect. He played murder suspect Ned Chase in the 1963 episode, “The Case of the Elusive Element.” He made his final appearance in 1965 as Ted Harberson in “The Case of the Wrathful Wraith.”

Personal Life

Dick married twice: first to Ronnie Cowan until their 1960 divorce, and second to television screenwriter Peggy Chantler from 1963 until her death in 2001.

Dick retired from acting and became a psychologist in 1971.

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