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Stanley Kramer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 September 1913Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 19 February 2001Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameStanley Earl Kramer

Mini Bio (1)

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Kramer. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). He was married to Karen Sharpe, Anne P. Kramer and Marilyn Erskine. He died on February 19, 2001 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (3)

Karen Sharpe (1 September 1966 - 19 February 2001) (his death) (2 children)
Anne P. Kramer (1950 - 1963) (divorced) (2 children)
Marilyn Erskine (1945 - 1945) (annulled, after three months)

Trivia (10)

Has a street in Berwick, Australia where part of On the Beach (1959) was filmed, named in his honour - Kramer Drive.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 538-544. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Directed 14 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Cara Williams, Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Oskar Werner, Michael Dunn, Simone Signoret, Katharine Hepburn, Cecil Kellaway and Beah Richards. Hepburn and Schell won Oscars for their performances in one of Kramer's movies.
After graduating from New York University in 1933, majoring in writing, Kramer accepted an internship in Hollywood as a production assistant. He worked as a set p.a. at several studios from 1933 onward and eventually worked at Universal in the early 1940s as part of the swing gang in the art department.
Was to name his child after Spencer Tracy, but when the baby turned out to be a girl, he named her after Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn was also her godmother.
After his retirement in 1980, he moved to Seattle, where he wrote a column for the Seattle Times and taught at the University of Washington and Bellevue Community College.
Attended New York University, graduating with a degree in business administration. His articles for a university publication won him a contract as junior writer at 20th Century Fox, earning $70 a week. For the next fourteen years, he worked as a scriptwriter/researcher at Fox, Republic and Columbia; as set dresser, researcher and editor at MGM and as associate producer for Loew-Lewin. Formed his own production company in 1947, in conjunction with Carl Foreman and George Glass. Under contract as director at United Artists (1955-63) and Columbia (1965-67; 1970-73). Had a reputation for being frugal, working well within his budgetary limitations. Many of his films reflected social or political concerns and were often controversial. He was consequently -- and to his chagrin -- tagged as a "message film maker" and "Hollywood's Conscience".
His mother worked as a secretary for Paramount. One of his uncles worked in distribution for Universal.
Served in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, making training films. He finished the war with the rank of first lieutenant.
His films Home of the Brave (1949) and Champion (1949) were the only two major box office hits United Artists had in 1949.

Personal Quotes (8)

I'm always pursuing the next dream, hunting for the next truth.
[on Humphrey Bogart] He was playing Bogart all the time, but he was really just a big sloppy bowl of mush.
[on Lee Marvin] I'm not his psychiatrist. I don't know whether he has one or needs one. I'm only saying that to understand him, one needs help.
[on Spencer Tracy] If I am to be remembered for anything I have done in this profession, I would like it to be for the four films in which I directed Spencer Tracy.
[on Katharine Hepburn] The most completely thorough, driving, constantly seeking actress with whom I'm been associated. She's never really satisfied; she never stops thinking about what she's doing and about what everybody else is doing. She is a marvelous woman who has a capacity for many emotional areas and she has great talent. She can trigger an emotional truth at precisely the right time. I don't know what she draws on; it's a deep, deep well.
[on Ava Gardner] She can read a script and immediately give you a completely lucid explanation of its merits and faults.
[on Sidney Poitier] Sidney has a greatness and professionalism and a deep, deep sensitivity. He's an absolutely beautiful man inside and out.
[on working with Montgomery Clift during the filming of Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)]. He was a total wreck at this point. He kept stumbling and forgetting his lines during take after take. Finally I said to him: "Just forget the damn lines, Monty. Let's say you're on the witness stand. The prosecutor says something to you, then the defense attorney bitterly attacks you... and you have to reach for a word in the script. That's all right. Go ahead and reach for it. Whatever the word may be, it doesn't really matter. Just turn to [Spencer] Tracy on the bench whenever you feel the need, and ad lib something. It will be all right because it will convey the confusion in your character's mind." He seemed to calm down after this. He wasn't always close to the script, but whatever he said fitted in perfectly, and he came through with as good a performance as I had hoped.

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