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James C. Corman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James C. Corman
James C. Corman (California Congressman).jpg
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 byJoseph F. Holt (22nd)
Augustus Hawkins (21st)
Succeeded byCarlos Moorhead (22nd)
Bobbi Fiedler (21st)
Constituency22nd district (1961–1975)
21st district (1975–1981)
Los Angeles City Council District 7
In office
Preceded byDon A. Allen
Succeeded byErnani Bernardi
Personal details
BornOctober 20, 1920
Galena, Kansas
DiedDecember 30, 2000(2000-12-30) (aged 80)
Arlington, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
USC Gould School of Law (J.D.)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceU.S. Marine Corps
RankSecond lieutenant
Battles/warsWorld War II

James Charles Corman (October 20, 1920 – December 30, 2000) was a Los Angeles City Council member from 1957 to 1961 and a Democratic Congressman from California between 1961 and 1981.



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 UCLA and a law degree from the University of Southern California. 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.[1][2]

He was said to be "extremely bright, intensely private and sometimes moody"[3] as well as "a courtly man in a tumultuous time ... with old-fashioned graciousness."[4] At age 68, he was described as a "dapper in monogrammed shirts, leather suspenders and wing-tipped shoes."[2]

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.[3] They had two children, Adam and Brian.[2] A funeral service was held in Arlington National Cemetery,[5] and interment followed.


Corman was a cadet officer at UCLA with the Reserve Officer Training Corps,[6] and he was made a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1943.[7]

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."[8] 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.[8]

Public service

City Council

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.[9] 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.[10] Corman did not finish his term, being elected to Congress in 1960.


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.
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.[11]

Corman was ousted from Congress in 1980 in a very close election by Los Angeles School Board member Bobbi Fiedler.[12]


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.[13] 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."[2]

In 1985 he was elected president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.[14]


James C. Corman Federal Building in Van Nuys
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 at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge.


  1. ^ Los Angeles Public Library reference file
  2. ^ a b c d Alan C. Miller, "Profile: James C. Corman," Los Angeles Times, October 15, 1989
  3. ^ a b Myrna Oliver, "James C. Corman: 10-Term Valley Congressman Championed Civil Rights, Welfare Legislation," Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2001
  4. ^ "His Legacy Represents Our Best," Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2001
  5. ^ Nedra Rhone, "Funeral for Corman to Be in Virginia," Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2001
  6. ^ "Cadets at U.C.L.A. Get State and Federal Commissions," Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1941, page 3
  7. ^ "Seven Given Commissions," Los Angeles Times, June 19, 1943, page A-16
  8. ^ a b "Angeleno Tells Aambush of Japs," Los Angeles Times, October 5, 1944, page A-16
  9. ^ "Race for 7th District Councilman Heated One," Los Angeles Times, March 22, 1957, page B-2
  10. ^ "Council Votes Redistricting After Flare-up Over Changes," Los Angeles Times, October 24, 1956, page B-1
  11. ^ Belmont High School Alumni News, Belmont Alumni, January, 1997
  12. ^ Richard Simon, Dade Hayes, Pro-Busing Stand Halted 20-Year Tenure, Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1997
  13. ^
  14. ^ John Dart, "Religion Notes,":Los Angeles Times, October 12, 1985 Scroll down.
  15. ^ "Congressman's Tall Legacy," Los  Angeles Times, December 22, 2001
  16. ^

External links

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

Succeeded by
Ernani Bernardi
U.S. 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
This page was last edited on 18 February 2020, at 03:22
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