Budd Schulberg

Budd Schulberg (March 27, 1914 – August 5, 2009) was an American screenwriter, television producer, novelist and sports writer. He was known for his 1941 novel, What Makes Sammy Run?, his 1947 novel The Harder They Fall, his 1954 Academy Award-winning screenplay for On the Waterfront, and his 1957 screenplay for A Face in the Crowd.

Budd Schulberg
Schulberg in 1967
Schulberg in 1967
BornSeymour Wilson Schulberg
March 27, 1914
New York City, New York, United States
DiedAugust 5, 2009 (aged 95)
Quiogue, New York, United States
OccupationFilm writer, sports writer, novelist
Virginia Lee Ray
(m. 1936; div. 1942)

Agnes Victoria Anderson
(m. 1943; div. 1964)

Geraldine Brooks
(m. 1964; died 1977)

Betsy Ann Langman
(m. 1978)

Early life and education

Born Seymour Wilson Schulberg, he was raised in a Jewish family[1] the son of Hollywood film-producer B. P. Schulberg and Adeline (née Jaffe) Schulberg, who founded a talent agency taken over by her brother, agent/film producer Sam Jaffe.[2] In 1931, when Schulberg was 17, his father left the family to live with actress Sylvia Sidney.[3] His parents divorced in 1933.[2]

Schulberg attended Deerfield Academy and then went on to Dartmouth College, where he was actively involved in the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern humor magazine and was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.[4] In 1939, he collaborated on the screenplay for Winter Carnival, a light comedy set at Dartmouth. One of his collaborators was F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was fired because of his alcoholic binge during a visit with Schulberg to Dartmouth.[5] Dartmouth College awarded Schulberg an honorary degree in 1960.

World War II

While serving in the Navy during World War II, Schulberg was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), working with John Ford's documentary unit. Following VE Day, he was reportedly among the first American servicemen to liberate the Nazi concentration camps.[6] He was involved in gathering evidence against war criminals for the Nuremberg Trials, an assignment that included arresting documentary film maker Leni Riefenstahl at her chalet in Kitzbühel, Austria, ostensibly to have her identify the faces of Nazi war criminals in German film footage captured by the Allied troops.[7] Riefenstahl claimed she was not aware of the nature of the internment camps. According to Schulberg, "She gave me the usual song and dance. She said, 'Of course, you know, I'm really so misunderstood. I'm not political'"


Being the son of a successful Hollywood producer gave Schulberg an insider's viewpoint on the true happenings of Hollywood, and his literature and film reflected this.

His most famed writing What Makes Sammy Run? allowed the public to see the harshness of Hollywood stardom via Sammy Glick's Cinderella story that does not end happily ever after. This novel was criticized by some as being self-directed anti-semitism.[8]

Budd Schulberg ca 1954
Schulberg in 1954

In 1950, Schulberg published The Disenchanted, about a young screenwriter who collaborates on a screenplay about a college winter festival with a famous novelist at the nadir of his career. The novelist (who was then assumed by reviewers to be a thinly disguised portrait of Fitzgerald, who had died ten years earlier) is portrayed as a tragic and flawed figure, with whom the young screenwriter becomes disillusioned. The novel was the 10th bestselling novel in the United States in 1950[9] and was adapted as a Broadway play in 1958, starring Jason Robards (who won a Tony Award for his performance) and George Grizzard as the character loosely based on Schulberg. In 1958, Schulberg wrote and co-produced (with his younger brother, Stuart) the film Wind Across the Everglades, directed by Nicholas Ray.

Schulberg wrote the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd. Based on the short story in his book Some Faces in the Crowd, the film starred newcomer Andy Griffith as an obscure country singer who rises to fame and becomes extraordinarily manipulative to preserve his success and power.

Schulberg encountered political controversy in 1951 when screenwriter Richard Collins, testifying to the House Un-American Activities Committee, named Schulberg as a former member of the Communist Party.[10] Schulberg testified as a friendly witness that Party members had sought to influence the content of What Makes Sammy Run? and "named names" of other Hollywood communists[11]

Schulberg was also a sports writer and former chief boxing correspondent for Sports Illustrated. He wrote some well received books on boxing, including Sparring with Hemingway.[12][13] He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his contributions to the sport.

In 1965, after a devastating riot had ripped apart the fabric of the Watts section of Los Angeles, Schulberg formed the Watts Writers Workshop in an attempt to ease frustrations and bring artistic training to the economically impoverished district.

In 1982 Schulberg wrote Moving Pictures, Memoirs of a Hollywood Prince, an autobiography covering his youth in Hollywood growing up in the '20s and '30s among the famous motion picture actors and producers as the son of B.P. Schulberg, head of Paramount Studios.

Personal life and death

Budd Schulberg 2007 New York City
Schulberg at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Schulberg was married four times. In 1936, he married his first wife, actress Virginia "Jigee" Lee Ray.[14] They had one daughter, Victoria, before divorcing in 1942.[15] In 1943, he married Victoria "Vickee" Anderson. They divorced in 1964.[16] They had two children: Stephen (born 1944) and David (born 1946).[17] David was a Vietnam veteran who predeceased his father.[15] In 1964, he married actress Geraldine Brooks. They were married until her death in 1977;[3] they had no children.[18] In 1977, he married Betsy Ann Langman, granddaughter of investment banker Maurice Wertheim and great-granddaughter of US ambassador Henry Morgenthau Sr.; they had two children: Benn and Jessica.[3][19][20]

His niece Sandra Schulberg[21] was an executive producer of the Academy Award nominated film Quills, among other movies. His mother, of The Ad Schulberg Agency, served as his agent until her death in 1977. His brother, Stuart Schulberg, was a movie and television producer (David Brinkley's Journal, The Today Show). His sister, Sonya Schulberg (O'Sullivan) (1918-2016) was an occasional writer (novel They Cried a Little and stories).

Budd Schulberg died in his home in Quiogue, New York, aged 95.

See also


  1. ^ Hollywood Reporter: "Hollywood's Hottest $150 Million Project Is an 83-Year-Old Synagogue - Studio heads, agency chieftains and top producers have come together, "Avengers"-style, to save their iconic but decaying Wilshire Boulevard Temple -- an A-list house of worship far from the Westside" by Gary Baum May 30, 2012
  2. ^ a b Jewish Women's Archives: "Adeline Schulberg 1895 – 1977" retrieved September 24, 2015
  3. ^ a b c People: "Budd Schulberg -Exiled Long Ago for the Secrets He Did Not Keep, the Author of What Makes Sammy Run? Looks Back on Hollywood Past and Present" by Ken Gross December 18, 1989
  4. ^ Membership Directory, 2010, Pi Lambda Phi Inc
  5. ^ Tanz, Jason (7 Feb 2003). "Lost Weekend: F. Scott and Budd Go to Dartmouth". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Cullum, Paul (6 July 2006). "A Face in the In Crowd". LA Weekly.
  7. ^ Kennicott, Philip (29 Nov 2005). "Art of Justice: The Filmmakers At Nuremberg". Washington Post.
  8. ^ "Budd Schulberg: The Screen Playwright as the Author," in The Cineaste Interviews, ed. Dan Georgakas and Lenny Rubenstein (Chicago: Lake View Press, 1983)
  9. ^ Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States in the 1950s
  10. ^ Joyce, Gare (June 2004). "Unrepentant". The Walrus. Archived from the original on 2010-01-14.
  11. ^ Trussell, C. P. (24 May 1951). "Schulberg Tells of Red Dictation: Move To Control His Writing Cause Him to Leave Party" (PDF). The New York Times. [Schulberg] testified voluntarily before [HUAC] today that he became a Communist during the late Nineteen Thirties but quit the party when it tried to dictate what he should write.... He named John Howard Lawson, one of the Hollywood Ten, as trying to pressure him to write under party guidance, and 'named names' of Waldo Salt, Ring Lardner Jr., Lester Cole, John Bright, Paul Jarrico, Gordon Kahn, writers; Herbert Biberman, director; and Meta Reis Rosenberg, agent.
  12. ^ "Budd Schulberg: A Knockout Collection". Chicago Tribune. 13 August 1995. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  13. ^ "IN SHORT:NONFICTION". New York Times. 9 July 1995. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  14. ^ Beck, Nicholas (October 2001). Budd Schulberg: A Bio-bibliography. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810840355. "All of the Jewish communists were attracted to her, because she was a gorgeous gentile princess accessible to Jewish communists because she was a communist"
  15. ^ a b Weineraug, Tim (2009-08-05). "Budd Schulberg, 'On the Waterfront' Writer, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  16. ^ Beck p.64
  17. ^ Beck p.37
  18. ^ Beck p.62
  19. ^ "Anne R. Wertheim Becomes A Bride; Daughter of Banker Married in Cos Cob Home to. Dr. Louis Langman of New York". The New York Times. February 1, 1937.
  20. ^ "Mrs. Wertheim to Marry Paul L. Weiner Today". Jewish Telegraph Agency. January 24, 1934.
  21. ^ Sandra Schulberg on IMDb

Further reading

  • Beck, Nicholas. Budd Schulberg: A Bio-Bibliography Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001.

External links

A Face in the Crowd (film)

A Face in the Crowd is a 1957 American drama film starring Andy Griffith (in his film debut), Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by Budd Schulberg and is based on his short story "Your Arkansas Traveler" from the collection Some Faces in the Crowd (1953).

The story centers on a drifter named Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes who is discovered by the producer (Neal) of a small-market radio program in rural northeast Arkansas. Rhodes ultimately rises to great fame and influence on national television. The character was inspired by Schulberg's acquaintance with Will Rogers Jr. who admitted his famous father's "man of the people" image was a facade. The successes of Arthur Godfrey and Tennessee Ernie Ford were also acknowledged in the screenplay.

The film launched Griffith into stardom, but earned mixed reviews upon its original release. Later decades have seen favorable reappraisals of the movie, and in 2008 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Actors Studio (TV series)

Actors Studio is an American TV show which aired for 65 episodes, from September 26, 1948, to October 26 on the fledgling ABC Television Network; then from November 1, 1949, to June 23, 1950, on CBS Television. (It was one of the first series to be picked up by a network after being cancelled by another network). It was hosted by Marc Connelly.

The series showcased short pieces of adapted, classic and original drama, performed and produced live each week. Among some of the known authors were William Saroyan, James Thurber, Ring Lardner, Edgar Allan Poe, Irwin Shaw and Budd Schulberg. Featured actors included Martin Balsam, Richard Boone, Marlon Brando, Hume Cronyn, Julie Harris, Jean Muir and Jessica Tandy. Recurring performers included Jocelyn Brando, Tom Ewell, Steven Hill, Kim Hunter and Cloris Leachman.

In February 1950, the series moved to Friday nights and was expanded to one hour, alternating every other week with broadcasts of Ford Theatre. In March, the name of the show was changed to The Play's the Thing.The series received a Peabody Award in 1948 for pioneering in the field of televised drama.

B. P. Schulberg

B. P. Schulberg (January 19, 1892 – February 25, 1957) was an American pioneer film producer and film studio executive.

Garry Pastore

Garry Pastore is an American actor, stuntman, writer, and filmmaker.

Government Girl

Government Girl is a 1943 American comedy film produced and directed by Dudley Nichols and starring Olivia de Havilland and Sonny Tufts. Based on a story by Adela Rogers St. Johns, and written by Dudley Nichols and Budd Schulberg, the film is about a secretary working in a factory during World War II who helps her boss navigate the complex political machinations of government in an effort to build bomber aircraft for the war effort.

Hollywood novel

A Hollywood novel is a novel that takes the Southern California motion picture industry as its setting and often its subject. Examples of Hollywood novels include The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West, What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg, The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald, City of Angels by Rupert Hughes, After Many A Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley, Inside Daisy Clover by Gavin Lambert, The Deer Park by Norman Mailer, I Should Have Stayed Home by Horace McCoy, Michael Tolkin's The Player and The Return of the Player, and Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays. Novels set in Los Angeles but not primarily about the movie business and its effect on movie people and the public are not properly called Hollywood novels.

Jack Chase (American boxer)

Jack Chase was an African-American middleweight, who boxed in the 1930s and 40s. He was born in Texas and fought mainly on the west coast of the United States. He boxed under the name ‘Young Joe Lewis’ for the first part of his career, before changing to Jack Chase in 1942. His official fight count stands at 122, but it is believed he competed in an additional 40 plus fights prior to 1936, during which time his full record is unknown.He was ranked second in the world in his division, but never took part in a world title fight. He was included in the group dubbed ‘Black Murderers’ Row’, by Budd Schulberg, of boxers of the era who were so feared that they were avoided by title holders and so were unable to ever secure a title shot.Jack Chase did win several regional belts in the US, including the Colorado state title, the Rocky Mountain Regional Middleweight and Welterweight Titles in the 1930s and the California State's Middlweight and Light Heavyweight titles in the 1940s. He retired from boxing in 1948.

Chase had several run ins with the law during his life, including serving jail time in Colorado on a few occasions and being arrested for shooting fellow boxer Aaron Wade in California.

Jigee Viertel

Jigee Viertel (born Virginia Lee Ray; September 30, 1915 – January 31, 1960) was an actress in early Hollywood pictures and later the wife of screenwriters Budd Schulberg and Peter Viertel. She was active in early Hollywood socialist organizating and later in life was linked to the writers Ring Lardner, Jr. and Ernest Hemingway. She died from burns she suffered after inadvertently dropping a lit cigarette into the pocket of her flammable sleepwear.

Little Orphan Annie (1938 film)

Little Orphan Annie is a 1938 American comedy film directed by Ben Holmes and written by Budd Schulberg and Samuel Ornitz. It is based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray. The film stars Ann Gillis, Robert Kent, June Travis, J. Farrell MacDonald and J.M. Kerrigan. The film was released on December 2, 1938, by Paramount Pictures.

Nothing Sacred (film)

Nothing Sacred is an American Technicolor screwball comedy film directed in 1937 by William A. Wellman, produced by David O. Selznick, and starring Carole Lombard and Fredric March. with a supporting cast featuring Charles Winninger and Walter Connolly. Ben Hecht was credited with the screenplay based on a story by James H. Street, and an array of additional writers, including Ring Lardner, Jr., Budd Schulberg, Dorothy Parker, Sidney Howard, Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman and Robert Carson made uncredited contributions.

The lush, Gershwinesque music score was by Oscar Levant, with additional music by Alfred Newman and Max Steiner and a swing number by Raymond Scott's Quintette. The film was shot in Technicolor by W. Howard Greene and edited by James E. Newcom, and was a Selznick International Pictures production distributed by United Artists.

This was Lombard's only Technicolor film. She stated that this film was one of her personal favorites.

On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront is a 1954 American crime drama film, directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg. It stars Marlon Brando and features Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Pat Henning and Eva Marie Saint in her film debut. The soundtrack score was composed by Leonard Bernstein. The film was suggested by "Crime on the Waterfront" by Malcolm Johnson, a series of articles published in November–December 1948 in the New York Sun which won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, but the screenplay by Budd Schulberg is directly based on his own original story. The film focuses on union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen, while detailing widespread corruption, extortion, and racketeering on the waterfronts of Hoboken, New Jersey.

On the Waterfront was a critical and commercial success. It received twelve Academy Award nominations and won eight, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Brando, Best Supporting Actress for Saint, and Best Director for Kazan. In 1997, it was ranked by the American Film Institute as the eighth-greatest American movie of all time; in AFI's 2007 list, it was ranked 19th. It is Bernstein's only original film score not adapted from a stage production with songs.

In 1989, On the Waterfront was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Señor Discretion Himself

Señor Discretion Himself is a musical with book, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, adapted from the short story of the same name by Budd Schulberg. It was never completed before Loesser died in 1969, but it was revised and "completed" in 2004, with a new libretto by Culture Clash, vocal arrangements by Brian Cimmet and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright.

Señor Discretion Himself ran April 9-May 23, 2004 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. The production was directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, choreography by Doriana Sanchez, music direction and vocal arrangements by Brian Cimmet, orchestrations by Larry Hochman. The production starred Shawn Elliott, Elena Shaddow, Ivan Hernandez, Margo Reymundo, and John Bolton.

Sparring with Hemingway

Sparring with Hemingway is a book written by Budd Schulberg consisting of a collection of Schulberg's articles on boxing spanning nearly half a century. The book includes descriptions of fights between Marciano and Archie Moore; Ali and Foreman; Leonard and Duran; and Hagler and Hearns. A review of the book in the New York Times praises Schulberg's technical expertise on the subject of boxing. A Chicago Tribune review of the book states: The pieces in the present volume range over the whole of Schulberg's career and include those drawn from his days as a reporter for the New York Post as well as assignments for Sports Illustrated and other publications. He chronicles the demise of Archie Moore, the implacable assaults of Rocky Marciano, the supernova-like appearance of Cassius Clay and his psych job on the theretofore-invincible Sonny Liston, the saga of Mike Tyson (predicting long before Tyson's conviction on rape charges that "the biggest fight of all may still be Tyson vs. Tyson") and the resurrection of George Foreman: "Win or lose, this 260 pounds of fighting preacher has proved what . . . F. Scott Fitzgerald denied when he wrote, `There are no second acts in American lives.' "

The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 1951

This is a list of adult fiction books that topped The New York Times Fiction Best Seller list in 1951.

Watts Writers Workshop

The Watts Writers Workshop was a creative writing group initiated by screenwriter Budd Schulberg in the wake of the devastating August 1965 Watts Riots in South Central Los Angeles (now South Los Angeles). Schulberg later said: "In a small way, I wanted to help.... The only thing I knew was writing, so I decided to start a writers' workshop." The group, which functioned from 1965 to 1973, was composed primarily of young African Americans in Watts and the surrounding neighborhoods. Early on, the Workshop included a theatrical component and one of the founders was the actor Yaphet Kotto. The group expanded its facilities and activities over the next several years with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Government files later revealed that the Workshop had been the target of covert operations by the FBI. Well-known writers to emerge from the Workshop include Quincy Troupe, Johnie Scott, Eric Priestley, Ojenke, Herbert Simmons, and Wanda Coleman, as well as the poetry group Watts Prophets.

What Makes Sammy Run?

What Makes Sammy Run? (1941) is a novel by Budd Schulberg inspired by the life of his father, early Hollywood mogul B. P. Schulberg. It is a rags to riches story chronicling the rise and fall of Sammy Glick, a Jewish boy born in New York's Lower East Side who, very early in his life, makes up his mind to escape the ghetto and climb the ladder of success by deception and betrayal. It was later made into a long-running Broadway musical.

What Makes Sammy Run? (musical)

What Makes Sammy Run? is a musical with music and lyrics written by Ervin Drake and a book by Budd Schulberg and Stuart Schulberg. The story, based on Budd Schulberg's 1941 novel of the same name, centers on a ruthlessly ambitious young man who schemes his way to the top of the Hollywood studio food chain, betraying friends and lovers in his wake.The show played on Broadway from February 15, 1964 to June 12, 1965 at the 54th Street Theater in New York City, running for 540 performances. It was directed by Abe Burrows. Steve Lawrence starred as Sammy Glick, with Robert Alda as Al Manheim and Sally Ann Howes as Kit Sargent. Graciela Daniele played Rio Rita.

A 1966 production on the West Coast starred Frank Gorshin, and an off-Broadway revival was staged in 2006 at the West End Theater with rewrites by its director Robert Armin.

Wind Across the Everglades

Wind Across the Everglades is a 1958 film directed by Nicholas Ray. Ray was fired from the film before production was finished, and several scenes were completed by screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who also supervised the editing. Chris Fujiwara wrote on Turner Classic Movies that the film is "an acid test for auteurists, one of those special films that, while ignored or despised for the most part, are cherished and fiercely defended by those who love great American directors."

The film stars Burl Ives, features Christopher Plummer in his first lead role (and his second film role overall) and introduces Chana Eden, who plays the leading lady, and Peter Falk, who plays a minor role. Former stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and circus clown Emmett Kelly also are among those in an unusual cast.It was filmed on location in Everglades National Park in Technicolor.

Winter Carnival (film)

Winter Carnival is a 1939 comedy-drama film directed by Charles Reisner starring Ann Sheridan, Richard Carlson and Helen Parrish. Jill Baxter returns to her college for the annual Winter Carnival and fall in love with an old boyfriend.

Budd Schulberg and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others worked on the script, an experience that led to Schulberg's novel The Disenchanted.

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