Ben Hecht (1894-1964) aka “The Shakespeare of Hollywood” is an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist. He’s the first screenwriter to receive an American Academy Award for Best Screenplay (Underworld, 1927 by Josef von Sternberg).
He is also an unaccredited script doctor on countless other projects, including Gone with the Wind(1939).
To his credit are the following films: Scarface (1983), His Girl Friday (1940), The Scoundrel (1935), Wuthering Heights(1939), Notorious (1946), Monkey Business (1957), Spellbound (1947).
It has been said that he can produce a screenplay in two weeks.
© Ben Hecht, circa 1919, Culver Pictures (original photographer).
French author Patrick Modiano (1945-) was born in Boulogne Billancourt and is also the son of Flemish actress Louisa Colpijn.
In 1973, Modiano co-wrote the screenplay of “Lacombe, Lucien” (1974, Louis Malle), the tale of a boy in the French Gestapo. Patrice Leconte adapted his novel “Villa Triste” into “Le Parfum d’Yvonne” (1994). Check him out.
© Patrick Modiano, Paris, 1969. Photo by D.R
© Patrick Modiano, undated, by Olivier Roller
© Patrick Modiano, 2007, Paris, by Olivier Roller
Not only was Truman Capote (1924-1984) the author behind “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) & “In Cold Blood” (1967), but he also wrote the screenplay for “Beat the Devil” (1953, directed by John Huston) & the dialogue for “Indiscretion of an American Wife” (1953, Vittorio de Sica).
He has been portrayed several times, most impressively by Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote” (2005, directed by Bennett Miller). He likewise starred in the hilarious noir comedy “Murder by Death” alongside Peter Falk (1974, Robert Moore).
Below are 3 of my favorite portraits of the artist. All rights belong to their respective photographers.
© Truman Capote, Henri-Cartier Bresson, 1947
© Truman Capote by Richard Avedon, New York City, October 1950
© Truman Capote, Irving Penn, 1965.
Jerzy Kosinski is born Jozef Lewinkopf ( June 14, 1933 – May 3, 1991) and is a Polish-American novelist, 2-time president of American Chapter of P.E.N.
He was great friends with Peter Sellers. They shared substance abuse, depression and the film “Being There” (1979, directed by Hal Ashby) which Kosinski wrote & Sellers starred in. As a child, he had survived WWII under a false identity. He committed suicide in 1991.
© “Jerzy Kosinski” by Victor Skrebneski. 14 in x 11 11/16 in, Gelatin silver print. Museum of Contemporary photography, Chicago.
We often forget or disregard the name and faces of the artists who wrote our favorite screenplays or yet-to-be-adapted novels.
© This is Anita Loos (April 26, 1888 – August 18, 1981), an American screenwriter, playwright and author, best known for her blockbuster comic novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She was also John Emerson’s wife, who convinced her to stop writing. Unknown photographer.
© World-renown Swedish director Ingmar Bergman adorned the cover of “TIME”, May 14th, 1960.
Credit goes to “Time” magazine.