Screenwriters I admire

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1.
Preston Sturges
Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S...
 
2.
Billy Wilder
The second of two sons, his father ran a chain of railway station cafes. As a youth he was obsessed with everything American. encouraged by his mother he enrolled as a law student at the University of Vienna but quit after 3 months to be a writer on a magazine which although poorly paid it gave him a great amount of experience interviewing such as Richard Strauss and Sigmund Freud...
 
4.
Paddy Chayefsky
Writer, Network
Author, producer and composer who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from CCNY, then a Purple Heart during World War II while serving in the US Army. Joining ASCAP in 1955, his chief musical collaborators included George Bassman and Harry Warren. His popular-song compositions include "Marty" and "Middle of the Night".
 
5.
Ernest Lehman
One of the most critically and commercially successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, Lehman grew up on Long Island, graduated from NY's City College. One of his first jobs was as a copywriter for a Broadway publicist. This experience would later be reflected in his novel and screenplay, "Sweet Smell of Success." He also worked as a radio comedy writer...
 
6.
Ben Hecht
Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing partner and friend Charles MacArthur...
 
7.
Graham Greene
Graham Greene was one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century and his influence on the cinema and theatre was enormous. He wrote five plays and almost all of his novels, including "Brighton Rock", "The Ministry of Fear" and "The End of the Affair", have been brought to the screen. A superb storyteller, he also wrote the screenplays for such classics as The Fallen Idol and The Third Man...
 
8.
Woody Allen
Writer, Annie Hall
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
 
9.
Paul Schrader
Writer, Taxi Driver
Although his name is often linked to that of the "movie brat" generation (Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, etc.) Paul Schrader's background couldn't have been more different than theirs. His strict Calvinist parents refused to allow him to see a film until he was 18...
 
12.
William Goldman
Screenwriter, novelist, playwright, non-fiction author. Born in Highland Park, Illinois, USA, began his career as a novelist in 1957. Started writing screenplays in 1965 with "Masquerade". A two-time Academy Award Winner, he is one of the most successful screenwriters and script doctors in Hollywood.
 
13.
Dalton Trumbo
Writer, Spartacus
Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10, was born in Montrose, Colorado to Orus Trumbo and his wife, the former Maud Tillery. Dalton Trumbo was raised at 1124 Gunnison Ave. in Grand Junction...
 
14.
Robert Towne
Writer, director, producer, actor. Born in Los Angeles, California, USA, and raised in the seaport town of San Pedro. Got his start acting and writing for legendary exploitation director/producer Roger Corman. Came into his own during the 1970s when he was regarded as one of the finest screenwriters in Hollywood...
 
15.
Charlie Kaufman
Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon transferred NYU to study film...
 
16.
Howard Koch
Writer, Casablanca
Playwright and author of sophisticated screenplays, a graduate of Bard College and Columbia University Law School. Howard Koch started out as a practicing lawyer in Hartsdale, New Jersey, but soon found himself dissatisfied with his career choice and began to write plays on the side. His first two efforts flopped on Broadway (respectively in 1929 and 1933)...
 
17.
Charles Brackett
Writer, Sunset Blvd.
Charles Brackett, born in Saratoga Springs, New York, of Scottish ancestry, followed in his attorney-father's footsteps and graduated with a law degree from Harvard University in 1920. He practised law for several years, before commencing work as drama critic for The New Yorker (1925-29), in addition to submitting short stories to The Saturday Evening Post...
 
18.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount productions in Hollywood...
 
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20.
Herman J. Mankiewicz
Writer, Citizen Kane
Herman J. Mankiewicz, now known primarily as the man who co-wrote Citizen Kane with Hollywood's greatest wunderkind, Orson Welles, was one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood and the head of Paramount's screen-writing department in the late 1920s and early '30s. He reached the pinnacle of his craft soon after arriving in Hollywood...
 
21.
Curt Siodmak
Writer, The Wolfman
Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1902, Curt Siodmak worked as an engineer and a newspaper reporter before entering the literary and movie fields. It was as a reporter that he got his first break (of sorts) in films: in 1926 he and his reporter-wife hired on as extras on Fritz Lang's Metropolis in order to get a story on the director and his film...
 
23.
James Agee
James Agee, Pulitzer Prize winning author, was born in Knoxville in 1909. The intense writer was to enjoy little real success in his lifetime, but after death won accolades. In 1958 he won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his uncompleted biographical novel A Death in the Family. Agee also wrote the...
 
24.
John Huston
An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry included English...
 
25.
Mel Brooks
Melvin James Kaminsky was born on June 28th, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to television...
 
27.
Robert Bolt
Son of a small shopkeeper, he attended Manchester Grammar School. He later said that he made poor uses of his opportunities there. He went to work in an insurance office, but later entered Manchester University, taking a degree in History. A post-graduate year at Exeter University led to a schoolmaster's position...
 
29.
Sidney Buchman
The son of a Russian émigré clothing merchant, Sidney Buchman was born in Duluth, Minnesota, on March 27 1902. He initially attended the University of Minnesota. After his family moved to New York, he continued his studies at Columbia University, graduating in 1923. The following year, he travelled to England and worked as an assistant stage manager at the Old Vic...
 
30.
Raymond Chandler
An American novelist, writer of crime fiction featuring the private detective Philip Marlowe, Raymond (Thornton) Chandler was born in Chicago of an American father and an Anglo-Irish mother. He moved to England when his parents divorced. He attended Dulwich College and studied languages in France and Germany before returning to England in 1907 and becoming a naturalized British subject...
 
32.
Tennessee Williams
Tennesse Williams won two Pulitzer Prizes, for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947) and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955). His other major plays include "Summer and Smoke" (1948), "The Rose Tattoo" (1951), "Camino Real" (1953), "Sweet Bird of Youth" (1959), and "The Night of the Iguana" (1961). In addition to his two Pulitzers...
 
33.
Jonathan Nolan
Attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, graduating in 1994. Graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1999. Majored in English. Shortly after graduating from Georgetown University, Jonathan Nolan served as a production assistant on Memento. Wrote the short story, "Memento Mori", on which the film Memento is based...
 
34.
Christopher Nolan
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear story-telling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of film-making, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made...
 
38.
Waldo Salt
Waldo Salt was one of the many people blacklisted in Hollywood during the Red Scare, but unlike others, Salt recovered triumphantly. He wrote his first scripts in the late 1930s (MGM contract writer, 1936-42) and also served as a civilian consultant to the Office of War Information from 1942- 1945 before being blacklisted in 1951 after refusing to testify before HUAC...
 
41.
Terry Southern
Terry Southern began writing satirical, outrageous fiction at the age of 12, when he took it upon himself to rewrite various Edgar Allan Poe stories "because they didn't go far enough". After serving as a lieutenant in the army in World War II, he began writing short stories in earnest while studying at the Sorbonne...
 
43.
Robert E. Sherwood
Writer, Rebecca
Robert E. Sherwood, a brilliant multifaceted writer, was born to Arthur Murray and Rosina Emmet Sherwood, educated at the Milton Academy (Massachusetts) and Harvard, and was wounded while serving with the Canadian Black Watch in WWI. His literary career started with jobs as movie critic at Vanity Fair and Life magazines...
 
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