Oscar winners for writingby Sijmen | created - 15 May 2014 | updated - 07 Mar 2018 | Public
2. Ben Hecht
Writer | Notorious
Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) 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...
Writer | The Trail of '98
Joseph Farnham was born on December 2, 1884 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA as Joseph White Farnham. He was a writer and editor, known for The Trail of '98 (1928), West Point (1927) and The Unknown (1927). He was married to Rose Alma LeCourt and Emily Ardis. He died on June 2, 1931 in Beverly Hills,...
Writer | The Big House
The most renowned female screenwriter of the 20th century, and one of the most respected scripters of any gender, Frances Marion was born in San Francisco. She modeled and acted and had some success as a commercial artist. She entered into journalism and served in Europe as a combat correspondent ...
Writer | Cimarron
Detroit-born Howard Estabrook entered show business as a stage actor in New York in 1904. He appeared in several films starting in 1914 and even directed a few in 1917. He left films for a career in the business world, but returned in 1921 in executive positions with various studios, then began ...
Writer | The Dawn Patrol
John Monk Saunders was born on November 22, 1895 in Hinckley, Minnesota, USA. He was a writer and director, known for The Dawn Patrol (1930), Wings (1927) and Devil Dogs of the Air (1935). He was married to Fay Wray and Avis Bissell (Hughes). He died on March 11, 1940 in Ft. Myers, Florida, USA.
Writer | Bad Girl
Edwin J. Burke, one of first New York playwrights to move to Hollywood after advent of "talkies", was born on 30 August, 1889, at Albany, New York. In 1910, after attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, he began his acting career playing lead roles for a local ...
Writer | Little Women
Victor Heerman was one of four brothers. His mother was a theatrical costumer. His father abandoned the family, and his mother moved the family to New York from London around the turn of the century to take a job as David Belasco's head costumer. Heerman moved to Los Angeles in 1911 to get into the...
10. Sarah Y. Mason
Writer | Little Women
Had two children with her husband Victor Heerman - a daughter Catharine Anliss Heerman (February 5, 1922-April 4, 2007), an artist and teacher of art in Southern California, and a son Victor Eugene Herrman, Jr. (1924/5-July 2, 2014), a successful breeder of Thoroughbred racehorses.
11. Robert Lord
Writer | One Way Passage
Harvard graduate Robert Lord studied English literature and playwriting in George Pierce Baker's renowned Workshop 47. He subsequently put this training into practice as a story writer for the New Yorker. Before long, one of his contributions, The Lucky Horseshoe (1925), attracted the attention of ...
12. Robert Riskin
Writer | It Happened One Night
Robert Riskin was born on March 30, 1897 in New York City, New York, USA as Reuben Robert Riskin. He was a writer and producer, known for It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and You Can't Take It with You (1938). He was married to Fay Wray. He died on September 20, 1955 in ...
Writer | The Scoundrel
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers out there are starving!" When Patrick Dennis's fictional Auntie Mame uttered this pithy observation, she could have been speaking of Charles MacArthur. Charlie never shied away from the feast, and he certainly never went hungry. Arriving in November 1895 in...
17. Sheridan Gibney
Writer | The Story of Louis Pasteur
Sheridan Gibney was born on June 11, 1903 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) and The Locket (1946). He died on April 12, 1988 in Missoula, Montana, USA.
Director | A Star Is Born
William Wellman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter-director of the original A Star Is Born (1937), was called "Wild Bill" during his World War I service as an aviator, a nickname that persisted in Hollywood due to his larger-than-life personality and lifestyle.
A leap-year baby born in 1896 on the 29th...
22. Geza Herczeg
Writer | The Life of Emile Zola
Hungarian-American playwright and screenwriter Geza Herczeg was also a newspaper publisher and covered the Balkan Wars and later World War I as a correspondent. In 1926 he was granted an interview with Benito Mussolini in Rome; in 1936 he was invited back, and asked to translate and produce a play ...
23. Dore Schary
Writer | Boys Town
Isadore Schary had a long and checkered history in motion pictures. He was first employed as a screenwriter at then-lowly Columbia after a story editor was struck by the crispness of a writing sample. The editor also happened to think that the writer was a woman, mistaking Dore for Dora. By 1933 ...
24. Eleanore Griffin
Writer | Boys Town
Eleanore Griffin, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who won her Academy Award along with co-writer Dore Schary for Boys Town (1938), was born on April 29, 1904, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Griffin began writing screenplays at Universal in 1937, being credited for the comedies When Love Is Young (1937) (...
Writer | My Fair Lady
The Anglo-Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, acquired a reputation as the greatest dramatist in the English language during the first half of the 20th Century for the plays he had written at the height of his creativity from "Mrs. ...
26. W.P. Lipscomb
Writer | Pygmalion
Oscar-winner W.P. Lipscomb (born William Percy Lipscomb in 1887 in Merton, England) was a British playwright and screenwriter who also produced and directed motion pictures. George Arliss, who played the title role in Cardinal Richelieu (1935), thought his fellow British expatriate in Hollwood was ...
28. Ian Dalrymple
Writer | The Citadel
British writer-producer, educated at Rugby and at Trinity College, Cambridge. 'Dal', as he came to be known, began in the industry as a cutter and assistant director under Michael Balcon. He was promoted to supervising editor, in which capacity he worked at Gaumont-British and Gainsborough from the...
29. Lewis R. Foster
Writer | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Lewis R. Foster was born on August 5, 1898 in Brookfield, Missouri, USA. He was a director and writer, known for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Captain China (1950) and Crosswinds (1951). He was married to Dorothy Wilson and Helen Mae. He died on June 10, 1974 in Tehachapi, California, USA.
31. Preston Sturges
Writer | The Great McGinty
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....
Writer | The Philadelphia Story
Donald Ogden Stewart was born on November 30, 1894 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. He was a writer and actor, known for The Philadelphia Story (1940), An Affair to Remember (1957) and Laughter (1930). He was married to Leonore (Ella) Sophie Winter Steffens and Beatrice Ames. He died on August 2, 1980 in ...
Writer | Citizen Kane
Herman J. Mankiewicz, now known primarily as the man who co-wrote Citizen Kane (1941) 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 ...
35. Orson Welles
Actor | Citizen Kane
His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr....
36. Harry Segall
Writer | Here Comes Mr. Jordan
American playwright and screenwriter, in Hollywood from 1933. Worked variously at MGM, RKO, Paramount and Universal, coming to prominence chiefly through his 'heavenly fantasies': "Heaven Can Wait" (aka "Here Comes Mr. Jordan") and "Angel on my Shoulder".
37. Sidney Buchman
Writer | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
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...
38. Seton I. Miller
Writer | The Adventures of Robin Hood
Seton I. Miller was one of Hollywood's most accomplished writers of action and adventure films in the 1930's and 40's. A graduate of Yale University, he initially entered the film industry with MGM as an actor and 'technical advisor' on Brown of Harvard (1926), a collegiate romance first filmed at ...
Writer | A Matter of Life and Death
Educated at the Universities of Prague and Stuttgart, Emeric Pressburger worked as a journalist in Hungary and Germany and an author and scriptwriter in Berlin and Paris. He was a Hungarian Jew, chased around Europe (he worked on films for UFA in Berlin and Paris) before World War II, finally ...
40. Ring Lardner Jr.
Writer | MASH
The Oscar-winning screenwriter, Ring Lardner, Jr., will always be known for one of two things: that he was the son of one of the greatest humorists American literature has produced, and he was one of the Hollywood 10, the ten film-makers who refused to cooperate with the House Un-American ...
41. Michael Kanin
Writer | Woman of the Year
The older brother of writer/producer/director Garson Kanin, Michael Kanin was a fine talent in his own right. After serving a creative apprenticeship writing and acting in Catskill resort shows with his brother, Kanin worked as a commercial artist and musician. In 1939 he was signed to a ...
44. James Hilton
Writer | Mrs. Miniver
British novelist James Hilton was born in Leigh, Lancashire, England, in 1900. His father was a schoolmaster. Hilton graduated from Cambridge University in 1921, having already written his first novel, "Catherine Herself" (written in 1918, it wasn't published until 1920). After graduation he wrote ...
45. Claudine West
Writer | Mrs. Miniver
British novelist and playwright, who began as a writer of magazine articles. In Hollywood from 1929, she worked under contract at MGM, often on continuity scripts or additional dialogue, on British-themed prestige pictures, invariably in collaboration with others.
46. William Saroyan
Writer | The Human Comedy
The Oscar winner and Pulitzer Prize recipient William Saroyan, who gained world fame with his classic book "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" (1934), was born in California to Armenak and Takoohi Saroyan, Armenian refugees from the Turkish Ottoman Empire which perpetrated the Armenian ...
47. Norman Krasna
Writer | Princess O'Rourke
Humorist, playwright and screenwriter Norman Krasna went to great lengths planning for a career in law: he attended New York University, Columbia University and St. John's University law school, then abruptly changed his plans and started work as a copy boy at a New York newspaper. He had a brief ...
Writer | Casablanca
Julius J. Epstein was born on August 22, 1909 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Casablanca (1942), Reuben, Reuben (1983) and Pete 'n' Tillie (1972). He was married to Ann Margot Laszlo and Frances Sage. He died on December 30, 2000 in Los Angeles, California, ...
50. 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 ...
51. Leo McCarey
Director | An Affair to Remember
Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.
52. Lamar Trotti
Writer | With a Song in My Heart
Author and screenwriter, often preoccupied with American history as viewed from a Southern perspective. Born in Atlanta, Trotti studied writing at Columbia University and was also the first person to graduate from the University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism. In 1923, he became the ...
53. Frank Butler
Writer | Going My Way
Frank Butler was born on December 28, 1890 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England as Frank R. Butler. He was a writer and actor, known for Going My Way (1944), Wake Island (1942) and Road to Morocco (1942). He was married to Ethel Virginia Chapman. He died on June 10, 1967 in Oceanside, Long Island, New ...
54. Frank Cavett
Writer | Going My Way
Frank Cavett was born on December 27, 1905 in Jackson, Ohio, USA. He was a writer and assistant director, known for Going My Way (1944), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) and Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947). He was married to Mary Oakes and Mary Susan Beard. He died on March 25, 1973 in Santa...
57. 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 ...
58. Billy Wilder
Writer | The Apartment
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...
59. Clemence Dane
Writer | Perfect Strangers
British novelist and playwright Clemence Dane was born Winifred Ashton in Kent, England, in 1888. A gifted student, she was educated in a variety of private schools and, at age 16, was hired to teach French in Geneva, Switzerland. A year later she returned to England and studied art for three years...
61. Sydney Box
Producer | The Seventh Veil
Sydney Box was born on April 29, 1907 in Beckenham, Kent, England. He was a producer and writer, known for The Seventh Veil (1945), Forbidden Cargo (1954) and Christopher Columbus (1949). He was married to Muriel Box. He died on May 25, 1983 in Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Writer | The Best Years of Our Lives
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 ...
63. Valentine Davies
Writer | Miracle on 34th Street
Valentine Davies was born on August 25, 1905 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and It Happens Every Spring (1949). He died on July 23, 1961 in Malibu, California, USA.
64. Sidney Sheldon
Writer | I Dream of Jeannie
Sheldon was born in Chicago on February 17, 1917. He began writing as a youngster and at the age of ten he made his first sale of a poem for $10. During the Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs and while attending Northwestern University he contributed short plays to drama groups.
65. George Seaton
Writer | Miracle on 34th Street
Working his way up from general factotum and gag writer to highly versatile writer/director, George Seaton was involved in many aspects of the entertainment industry along the way.
He was born George Stenius of Swedish parentage (his family hailed from Stockholm) in South Bend, IN, and grew up in ...
67. John Huston
Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
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 was English,...
Writer | All About Eve
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 ...
70. Robert Pirosh
Writer | Battleground
Robert Pirosh enjoyed a lengthy Hollywood career, which began when he was signed by MGM, along with fellow newcomer George Seaton , as a contributing writer in 1934. His most notable success was garnering the Academy Award for his screenplay of Battleground (1949), a film based on the Second World ...
72. Edward Anhalt
Writer | Jeremiah Johnson
A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, Edward Anhalt started his career in early television before turning to writing and producing films, often in collaboration with his wife Edna Anhalt. A prolific screenwriter, Anhalt and his wife won an Academy Award for Panic in the Streets (1950). He...
74. Paul Dehn
Writer | Murder on the Orient Express
Paul Dehn's show-business career began in 1936 as a movie reviewer for several London newspapers. He later wrote plays, operettas and musicals for the stage. Dehn's first screenplay, for Seven Days to Noon (1950), garnered him an Oscar. He later wrote everything from James Bond films to entries in ...
75. James Bernard
Writer | Seven Days to Noon
Bernard was born in India, the son of a British army officer, but was moved to England as a small child for his health. He was educated at Wellington College, where the future actor Christopher Lee was a classmate. Fortuitously, because Lee was to star in scores of horror films for Hammer Studios, ...
77. Harry Brown
Writer | A Place in the Sun
Novelist, poet and screenwriter. Prior to working in the film industry, he wrote for The New Yorker and Time magazines. Upon induction into the U.S. Army in 1941, he contributed a regular weekly column to the army publication Yank, featuring a goldbricking private named Archie Greengroin.
78. Alan Jay Lerner
Writer | An American in Paris
Playwright/lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was born into a wealthy New York City retailing family. His professional association with Frederick Loewe started in 1942 when they teamed up to write "Life of the Party". Their first Broadway success was the 1947 musical fantasy "Brigadoon." Lerner adapted work ...
81. Charles Schnee
Writer | Red River
Charles Schnee was born on August 6, 1916 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Red River (1948), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and The Furies (1950). He died on November 29, 1962 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.
82. T.E.B. Clarke
Writer | The Lavender Hill Mob
T.E.B. 'Tibby' Clarke graduated with a law degree from Cambridge University, but decided that writing was more his forte. He started on that career path first as writer for a magazine in Australia, than back in London freelancing as a journalist. He also had jobs on Fleet Street, worked in ...
83. Dalton Trumbo
Writer | Roman Holiday
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 ...
84. Daniel Taradash
Writer | From Here to Eternity
Daniel Taradash was born on January 29, 1913 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA as Daniel Irwin Taradash. He was a writer, known for From Here to Eternity (1953), Picnic (1956) and Storm Center (1956). He was married to Madeleine Forbes. He died on February 22, 2003 in Los Angeles, California, USA.
85. Walter Reisch
Writer | Titanic
After completing studies in literature at the University of Vienna, Walter Reisch began his screen career as an extra and title writer in 1918. He eventually made the acquaintance of Stephan Lorant, a refuge from the Horty regime in Hungary, who, within a single year, had made a name for himself in...
87. Philip Yordan
Writer | Detective Story
Philip Yordan was born on April 1, 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Detective Story (1951), Broken Lance (1954) and Dillinger (1945). He was married to Faith Clift and Marilyn Nash. He died on March 24, 2003 in La Jolla, California, USA.
88. Budd Schulberg
Writer | On the Waterfront
Budd Schulberg was born on March 27, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as Seymour Wilson Schulberg. He was a writer and producer, known for On the Waterfront (1954), Everglades (1961) and A Face in the Crowd (1957). He was married to Betsy Ann Langman, Geraldine Brooks, Agnes Victoria Anderson ...
89. Daniel Fuchs
Writer | Love Me or Leave Me
American novelist, essayist and short story writer, a former teacher. Often concerned with Jewish themes, based on his childhood experiences. Went to Hollywood to work on several screenplays for films noir and melodramas, notably the fictionalised Ruth Etting biopic Love Me or Leave Me (1955).
90. 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 "...
92. Sonya Levien
Writer | Interrupted Melody
Sonya, a graduate with a law degree from New York University, briefly practiced law before becoming a magazine editor and fiction writer. After several of her stories were adapted to the screen, she became a screenwriter. Levien wrote several screenplays for Will Rogers films and for Fox studios ...
93. James Poe
Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Worked as a writer on the radio shows, "Suspense" and "Escape", during the 1950's, writing several of their best episodes, including "Rave Notice", "The Butcher's Wife", "Present Tense", "Bloodbath" and a true classic of the medium, "Three Skeleton Key", based on the short story by French author ...
95. S.J. Perelman
Writer | Around the World in 80 Days
Oscar-winning screenwriter S. J. Perelman was one of the great American humorists, a master at short fiction involving word play and satire who influenced countless American humorists, including Woody Allen. He was born Simeon Joseph Perleman (though known as Sidney or Sydney to family and friends)...
96. Albert Lamorisse
Director | Le ballon rouge
A former photographer, he turned to directing short subjects in the late 40s, soon acquiring an international reputation for the poetic quality of his short and medium-length films involving the fantasy world of children. Both his White Mane (1953) and The Red Balloon (1956) received a grand prize ...
98. Carl Foreman
Writer | The Guns of Navarone
Carl Foreman was born on July 23, 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Carl Nathan Foreman. He is known for his work on The Guns of Navarone (1961), High Noon (1952) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). He was married to Evelyn Smith and Estelle Barr. He died on June 26, 1984 in Beverly Hills, Los...
99. Pierre Boulle
Writer | The Bridge on the River Kwai
Pierre Boulle was a French novelist best known for two works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963), that were both made into award-winning films.
He was an engineer serving as a secret agent with the Free French in Singapore, when he was captured and subjected to two ...
100. George Wells
Writer | Designing Woman
The son of a vaudevillian Billy K. Wells, Wells graduated from New York University and began as a writer for radio ('The Jack Pearl Show','Lux Radio Theater'). In 1943, he joined MGM under contract as a screenwriter, rapidly acquiring a reputation for lending a deft touch and inventiveness to light...