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Nunnally Johnson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 5 December 1897Columbus, Georgia, USA
Date of Death 25 March 1977Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameNunnally Hunter Johnson

Mini Bio (1)

The son of a railway superintendent, Nunnally Johnson was schooled in Columbus, Georgia, graduating in 1915. He worked for the local newspaper as a delivery boy, became a junior reporter for the Savannah Press and then moved on to New York in 1919. There, his journalistic career really took off, particularly as a principal news reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Evening Post for which he wrote a humorous weekly column. An exceptionally literate individual, possessed of great wit, he was at his best writing social satire, lampooning conventions. This side of him was well showcased by some fifty short stories he submitted to the Saturday Evening Post and the New Yorker between 1925 and 1932.

Stymied in his efforts at writing film critique, Johnson made his way to Hollywood in 1932 and was initially signed by United Artists as a screenwriter. He only stayed a year before joining 20th Century Fox, where he became closely associated with Darryl F. Zanuck, not only in the capacity of writer, but also as associate producer and occasional director. His first contract ran from 1935 to 1942, his second from 1949 to 1963. During the interval, he co-founded International Pictures with independent producer William Goetz but the venture proved to be short-lived. The company was absorbed after less than three years by Universal, Goetz becoming head of production for the expanded Universal-International. Johnson returned to Fox.

During his time as a screenwriter, Johnson rarely ever worked in collaboration. Instead he showcased his own original work as well as displaying an innate flair for adapting classic novels into film scripts. Of particular note are his efforts for director John Ford, which included John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road (1941) and - also as producer/director - the psychological drama The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Add to that the gangster satire Roxie Hart (1942), and the brilliantly clever Fritz Lang-directed film noir The Woman in the Window (1944), both of which Johnson also produced. Not confined to any single genre, Johnson applied himself with equal vigour to westerns (The Gunfighter (1950)), war films (The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)) and comedies (How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)). His consistently intelligent treatment of such diverse A-grade material made him the highest paid writer in Hollywood.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (3)

Dorris Bowdon (1939 - 25 March 1977) (his death) (3 children)
Marion Byrnes (1927 - 1938) (divorced) (1 child)
Alice Mason (1919 - 1920) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (7)

Grandfather of Jack Johnson and Gene N. Fowler.
Father of Marjorie Fowler.
Was a reporter for the New York Post during the 1920s before heading to Hollywood.
Father-in-law of Gene Fowler Jr..
Interred at Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA - Sanctuary of Tranquility.
Close friend of fellow wit Groucho Marx.
Directed one Oscar-winning performance: Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve (1957).

Personal Quotes (10)

Movie actors wear dark glasses to funerals to conceal the fact that their eyes are not red from weeping.
[on Hollywood] This is the only place I ever heard of where the citizens practice stabbing themselves in the back in their spare time just by way of gymnasium workouts.
Women who have been sewn into their clothes should never drink to excess.
[on 'Louella Parsons' (qv] Her writings stand out like an asthmatic's gasps.
[on Humphrey Bogart] A fan came over during diner one time and Bogey told him to beat it. When the guy got back to his table I heard his companion say, quite happily, "See, I told ya he'd insult you."
[on Herman J. Mankiewicz] Sure, Mank was witty, but his wit took a much more elaborate form than wisecracks. He could improvise in a way that just held you spellbound.
[on Marilyn Monroe] An arrogant little tail-twitcher who learned to throw sex in your face.
[on Betty Grable] I don't think Betty would want an Oscar on her mantelpiece. She has every Tom, Dick and Harry at her feet.
[to David O. Selznick] My understanding is that an assignment from you consists of three months work and six moths recuperation.
I think John Ford almost dies because he can't write. It just runs him nuts, that he has thoughts and ideas and has never trained himself to put them down on paper. And I've found that true of so many directors. They're just so thwarted.

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