Frank Baxter was a comfortably wry USC English professor who brought Shakespeare, science and scholarship to television — and won seven Emmys and a Peabody Award doing it.
Baxter embarked almost accidentally on a TV career in 1953 with his 45-minute Saturday morning "Shakespeare on TV," which brought to television a dimension and substance it had not known.
From the USC lectern where he had taught hundreds of students since 1930, Baxter began reaching a TV audience that he and CBS executives were startled to learn was eventually in the millions. The show — the first local television course for college credit — won Baxter his first two Emmys, as 1953's most outstanding male performer and as best public affairs program.
It also brought him an even greater network of fans when the show went nationwide a year later.