He began his journalistic career as a reporter for Copley News Service in Los Angeles, where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Watts Riot in 1965. Norm did win the Copley, UPS and Associated Press Awards that year for Spot News Story. In late 1965 he moved his family to Las Vegas, Nevada, where the late, Hank Greenspun, named him Assistant Sports Editor and featured sports columnist for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.
In 1967, he accepted a position in public relations for the Del Webb Corporation at the Mint Hotel (now part of the Horseshoe), where he created the world famous Mint 400 Off-Road Race, which has recently been revived to its original glory years. Norm competed in off-road racing in Mexico, California and Nevada, from 1968 until 1982, when he raced in his last off-road event–the Mint 400. After being promoted to the Thunderbird Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in 1969, he eventually quit and formed his own public relations company. Norm was soon doing publicity for a large number of entertainers, such as Lola Falana, Robert Goulet, Mary Wilson, Al Martino, Johnny Ray, Matt Monro, Joe Louis, and Pat Cooper to name just a few. Today, he continues to do publicity and public relations, for a select number of entertainers, including Deana Martin, Esteban and his daughter, Teresa Joy, and is a consultant now and then for various hotel and casinos. But, like he has said, it’s fun being semi-retired.
As a journalist, Johnson writes three weekly syndicated columns titled “It’s The Norm,” which are featured at www.lasvegas-nv.com/norm, www.vegas-to-you.com and www.callbacknews.com. His featured articles, numbering in the hundreds, have appeared in numerous local, regional and national magazines on a variety of subjects, ranging from auto racing to celebrities. His book “The History of Off-Road Racing” was published in 1977. In 2006, after 29 years of research, his book on the historic flight around the world in 1924, in four bi-planes, and eight flyers of the Army Air Service, “Magellan’s of the Sky,” was published.
Johnson began his sculpting as a student in High School while growing up in Southern California. His Lost Wax Bronze sculptures of horses, cowboys and the Pony Express series have been said to be reminiscent of Frederic Remington’s great works. His new series titled Sea Life began in 2004, and currently has four bronzes on display with a number of unique pieces ready for casting at the foundry. Norm also has been commissioned to produce special one-of-a-kind Trophies and Whale Tails.
He presently is accepting commissions on any of his Lost Wax Bronzes, and of course special projects. His favorite subjects are horses, mermaids and dolphins. Johnson will work with any person wanting something special in a Lost Wax Bronze Sculpture, be it small or life-size.
Johnson finally retired from active auto racing in 2007, but still drives his specially prepared, Camaro Z28, in which he raced in High Speed Open Road Races throughout Nevada.