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James C. Corman
From 1961's Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Seventh Congress
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California

In office
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1981
Preceded by Joseph F. Holt (22nd)
Augustus Hawkins (21st)
Succeeded by Carlos Moorhead (22nd)
Bobbi Fiedler (21st)
Constituency 22nd district (1961–1975)
21st district (1975–1981)
Los Angeles City Council District 7

In office
Preceded by Don A. Allen
Succeeded by Ernani Bernardi
Personal details
Born October 20, 1920
Galena, Kansas, U.S.
Died December 30, 2000(2000-12-30) (aged 80)
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (BA)
University of Southern California (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Second lieutenant
Battles/wars World War II

James Charles Corman (October 20, 1920 – December 30, 2000) was an American politician who served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 1957 to 1961 and as a member of the United States House of Representatives between 1961 and 1981.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Corman was born on October 20, 1920, in Galena, Kansas, the son of Ransford D. Corman and Edna V. Corman, both of Kansas. His father was a silica miner who died of lung disease brought on by his work. Young James was brought to California by his mother in 1933; he attended Belmont High School in Los Angeles and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Los Angeles and a law degree from the USC Gould School of Law.

Military[edit | edit source]

Corman was a cadet officer at UCLA with the Reserve Officer Training Corps,[1] and he was made a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1943.[2]

In 1944, he told of the death of a Japanese soldier he witnessed in the Mariana Islands while his Marine unit was guarding a food supply. The Marines held their fire until the Japanese "began pawing over the [food] in the darkness, and then opened fire." One Japanese "fell wounded over a crate of salmon cans. His companions fled."[3] Corman continued:

Suddenly we heard the tap of a grenade. We ducked into our foxholes just before the explosion and were unhurt. In the morning we found the Jap had decapitated himself. In his wallet was a magazine clipping of a picture of Japanese-American soldiers fighting with United States forces in Italy.[3]

Career[edit | edit source]

City Council[edit | edit source]

See also List of Los Angeles municipal election returns.

In 1957 Corman, supported by labor and Democratic votes, was elected to a four-year term represent Los Angeles City Council District 7, over Kay Bogendorfer, a Republican.[4] In that year, this newly established San Fernando Valley district was bounded on the south by Riverside Drive on the east by Coldwater Canyon and Woodman avenues and on the west generally by Balboa Boulevard. It had been moved from Downtown Los Angeles after Councilman Don A. Allen was elected to the State Assembly.[5] Corman did not finish his term, being elected to Congress in 1960.

Congress[edit | edit source]

Representative Corman and other members of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics visit the Marshall Space Flight Center on March 9, 1962 to gather first-hand information of the nation's space exploration program.

"In with President Kennedy and out with President Carter," he would say after he left the United States Congress. He served in the House of Representatives from 1961 to 1981.[6]

In 1980, Corman was narrowly defeated for re-election by Los Angeles School Board member Bobbi Fiedler.[7]

Later career[edit | edit source]

After his Congressional service, he opened a lobbying firm, Corman Law Offices, in Washington, D.C., with a partner, William Kirk. Their clients included MCA Inc., American Newspaper Publishers Association and National Structured Settlements Trade Association.[8] The firm merged with Silverstein & Mullens in January 1990. Corman represented Texas Air Corporation president Frank Lorenzo in his contested takeover of Continental Airlines. He stopped representing the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare because of its "high-pressure fund-raising methods and alarmist pronouncements."[9]

In 1985 he was elected president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.[10]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

A Methodist, he was married on June 22, 1946, to Virginia Little of Atlanta, Georgia. They had two children, Mary Ann and James C., Jr.[9][11]

He was said to be "extremely bright, intensely private and sometimes moody"[12] as well as "a courtly man in a tumultuous time ... with old-fashioned graciousness."[13] At age 68, he was described as a "dapper in monogrammed shirts, leather suspenders and wing-tipped shoes."[9]

Corman died at age 80 on December 30, 2000, after suffering a stroke in a rehabilitation facility in Arlington, Virginia. He was survived by his fourth wife, Nancy Breetwor-Malone.[12] They had two children, Adam and Brian.[9] A funeral service was held in Arlington National Cemetery,[14] and interment followed.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

James C. Corman Federal Building in Van Nuys

In 2001, the Van Nuys Federal Building was named in his honor.[15] He was portrayed by Stoney Westmoreland in the 2016 film All the Way.[16] The James C. Corman papers are held in the University Library at California State University, Northridge.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
Don A. Allen
Los Angeles City Council
7th District

Succeeded by
Ernani Bernardi
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph F. Holt
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Carlos J. Moorhead
Preceded by
Augustus F. Hawkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Bobbi Fiedler

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