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Richard Brooks Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (11) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (congestive heart failure)
Birth NameReuben Sax
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS, attended Philadelphia's Temple University for two years, before dropping out and later working as a sports reporter and radio journalist in the 1930s. After a stint as a writer for the NBC network, he worked for one season as director of New York's Mill Pond Theatre, and then headed to Los Angeles. There he broke into films as a script writer of "B" movies, Maria Montez epics, serials, and did some radio writing. During the Second World War, he served with the US Marines for two years.

Richard Brooks made his directorial debut with MGM's Crisis (1950) starring Cary Grant. He scripted and directed The Brothers Karamazov (1958) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and two years later won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for Elmer Gantry (1960). He had six Oscar nominations and 25 other nominations during his film career. Brooks was a writer and director of Chekhovian depth, who mastered the use of understatement, anticlimax and implied emotion. His films enjoyed lasting appeal and tended to be more serious than the usual mainstream productions. Brooks was regarded as "independent" even before he officially broke away from the studio system in 1965. In the 1980s, he had his own production company.

Richard Brooks died of a heart failure on March 11, 1992, in Beverly Hills, California, and was laid to rest in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6422 Hollywood Blvd., for his contribution to the art of motion picture.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (3)

Jean Simmons (1 November 1960 - 1977) (divorced) (1 child)
Harriet Levin (21 July 1946 - 27 June 1957) (divorced)
Jean Brooks (1941 - 1944) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Directed ten different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Lee J. Cobb, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Lancaster, Shirley Jones, Ed Begley, Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight, Jean Simmons and Tuesday Weld. Three of them--Jones, Lancaster and Begley--won Oscars for their performances in a Brooks film.
Daughter, with Jean Simmons, is Kate Brooks.
Ex-stepfather of Tracy Granger.
As of 2013, Brooks remains one of six men who directed his wife in a performance nominated for a Best-Actress Oscar; in his case, wife Jean Simmons in The Happy Ending (1969). The other five are Joel Coen directing Frances McDormand in Fargo (1996), John Cassavetes directing Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and in Gloria (1980), Blake Edwards directing Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria (1982), Paul Czinner directing Elisabeth Bergner in Escape Me Never (1935) and Paul Newman directing Joanne Woodward in Rachel, Rachel (1968). Jules Dassin also directed his future wife Melina Mercouri in an Oscar-nominated performance (Never on Sunday (1960))--though they were not yet married at the time of the nomination.
Had known writer/director Samuel Fuller from the days when they were both reporters in New York City.
He and John Huston co-wrote the adapted screenplay for The Killers (1946), but neither received onscreen credit because of studio contract restraints.
He reportedly first met Cary Grant at the racetrack and his name seemed familiar to the actor because he had recently read about 70 pages of Brooks' script for Crisis (1950) and wanted to do the role, as it was such an unusual part for him. Already an established writer, Brooks told him he'd like to direct, too. To that Grant replied, "If you can write it, I don't see why you can't direct it. What you don't know, I certainly know." "Crisis" became Brooks' first film as director.
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Personal Quotes (11)

[engraved on his tombstone] First comes the word.
[on agreeing to direct Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) ] I became intrigued by the possibility of saying something about the lack of commitment young people seem to have today. Their infatuation with the merely sensational. Their desire for instant relief and gratification. Their lack of sexual joy. And their disillusionment because everything didn't turn out the way TV commercials say it should.
[how he'd like to be remembered] Told a good story. And that I was honest--and I mean in my work. That means a great deal to me.
[about his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame] A little dog squatted and peed on my name. Well, I've learned to like that dog and all the other dogs that have pissed on me because it reminds me that first of all, I'm a writer.
Directing is only writing with a camera. Editing is writing. Scoring is writing. It all has to do with a story, how to tell a story.
If you're going to make a book just as a book, then there's no need to make it as a film at all.
The privilege of failure has been taken away in America. All they want is success, success, success, one after the other. And what is continued success? Mediocrity!
[to cast and crew on the first day of shooting Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)] I'm sure that all of you have your own ideas about what kind of contribution you can make to this film, what you can do to improve it or make it better. Keep it to yourself. It's my fucking movie and I'm going to make it my way!
[on working in radio with Orson Welles] With Welles, everything began with the writing. And he was very good at it. He was a terrific guy. After I had done a few days' work, we'd go over the scenes. He had such a remarkable memory that if we'd get into a dispute about the way the story should or should not go, he'd say, "Well, let's see, now, in 'Lear' . . . ", and then he would review the whole of the second act of "King Lear", doing all the parts! Or he could quote from the Old or New Testament by the yard. His wealth of information and background about story lines was inexhaustible. He was inventive. Fearless.
I don't play the social game very well, but I'm trying to learn. There are people who dislike you for the women you've married . . . or loved, or left . . . or have left you. I try not to get in the social life out there because I don't have time. It's very demanding, but you have to get dressed, you have put on a necktie and all, too.
[on his films] Like most fathers, I'm sometimes partial to the weak ones rather than the strong ones. Those that don't succeed I feel a little more partial to, and it isn't necessarily because think they're better movies, but because they've tripped somewhere or fallen somehow.

Salary (1)

Any Number Can Play (1949) $29,107

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