Jerry Wald

Jerry Wald (September 16, 1911 – July 13, 1962) was an American screenwriter and a producer of films and radio programs.[1][2]

Jerry Wald
John Wayne, Maurice Chevalier, Anthony Quinn and Jerry Wald during 1958 Academy Awards rehearsals
Jerry Wald (facing away from camera) during rehearsals for the 1958 Academy Awards, with John Wayne, Maurice Chevalier and Anthony Quinn
Jerome Irving Wald

September 16, 1911
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 13, 1962 (aged 50)
OccupationScreenwriter; motion picture/radio program producer
Years active1932–1962
Spouse(s)Constance M. Polan (1941–1962; his death; 2 children)

Life and career

Early life

Born Jerome Irving Wald to a Jewish family[3] in Brooklyn, New York, he had a brother and sons who were active in show business. He attended James Madison High School.

He began writing a radio column for the New York Evening Graphic, while studying journalism at New York University. This led to him producing several Rambling 'Round Radio Row featurettes for Vitaphone, Warner Brothers' short subject division (1932–33).


Krasna's first feature credit was for the Warners movie Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934); he provided the story along with Paul Finder Moss at Warners. Wald provided the story (along with Philip Epstein) for Universal's Gift of Gab (1934).

Wald then signed with Warners where would be based for many years. He worked on the script for Maybe It's Love (1935) and the Rudy Valee musical Sweet Music (1935).

Julius Epstein

Wald worked on a series of scripts with Julius J. Epstein: the drama Living on Velvet (1935); In Caliente (1935); Broadway Gondolier (1935) (both uncredited); Little Big Shot (1935); Stars Over Broadway (1935); I Live for Love (1935); and Sons o' Guns (1936) with Joe E. Brown.

Other writers with whom Wald regularly worked were Sid Herzig and Warren Duff who were both on Sing Me a Love Song (1937).

Richard Macaulay

Wald worked on Ready, Willing and Able (1937) based on a story by Richard Macaulay. Wald, Macaulay, Duff and Herzig worked on Varsity Show (1937). Wald did some work on Ever Since Eve (1937).

Wald and Macaulay collaborated on scripts for Hollywood Hotel (1937); The Gay Impostors (1938) for Valee; Garden of the Moon (1938); Brother Rat (1938), based on the hit play; and Hard to Get (1938) with Dick Powell.

Wald and Herig were among the writers on Going Places (1938) with Powell. He and Macaulay worked on The Kid from Kokomo (1939), from a story by Dalton Trumbo; Naughty But Nice (1939) for Powell; and On Your Toes (1939).

Wald and Macaulay had both mostly worked on musicals but they had a big hit with the gangster film The Roaring Twenties (1939), with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, co-written with Robert Rossen.

They worked on Brother Rat and a Baby (1939) (uncredited); 3 Cheers for the Irish (1940), a comedy; Torrid Zone (1940), with Cagney and Ann Sheridan; Flight Angels (1940); Brother Orchid (1940); They Drive by Night (1940) with George Raft and Bogart; Million Dollar Baby (1941), a comedy co written with Casey Robinson; Out of the Fog (1941) with Lupino, working with Rossen; Manpower (1941) with Raft, Edward G Robinson and Marlene Dietrich.


Wald was promoted to producer at the recommendation of Mark Hellinger. His first credit was Navy Blues (1941), which he also wrote with Macaulay.[1]

Wald was associate producer on The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941), adapted by the Epsteins; All Through the Night (1942), with Bogart; Larceny, Inc. (1942) with Robinson; and Juke Girl (1942) with Sheridan and Ronald Reagan.

Wald was promoted to full producer, and soon established himself as one of the leading filmmakers on the lot: Across the Pacific (1942), with Bogart and director John Huston, written by Macaulay; George Washington Slept Here (1942) and The Hard Way (1943); he also contributed to the story of the latter, but had effectively given up writing.

Wald went on to produce Action in the North Atlantic (1943) with Bogart; Background to Danger (1943) with Raft; Destination Tokyo (1943) with Cary Grant and directed by Delmer Daves; In Our Time (1944) with Lupino; The Very Thought of You (1944) with Dennis Morgan and Eleanor Parker; Objective, Burma! (1945) with Errol Flynn; and Pride of the Marines (1945) with John Garfield.

Wald produced Joan Crawford's first film at Warners, Mildred Pierce (1945) which won her an Oscar and earned Wald an Oscar Nomination for Best Picture. He did her next film, Humoresque (1946), written by Clifford Odets and directed by Jean Negulesco.

Wald produced The Unfaithful (1947) with Ann Sheridan and director Vincent Sherman; Possessed (1947) with Crawford; Dark Passage (1947) with Bogart and Lauren Bacall for Daves; and To the Victor (1948) with Morgan and Dves.

He produced a series of classic films: Key Largo (1948) with Bogart, Bacall and Edward G. Robinson; Johnny Belinda (1948), which won an Oscar for star Jane Wyman; and The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) with Flynn.

Wald's credits then included One Sunday Afternoon (1949), with Morgan; John Loves Mary (1949) with Ronald Reagan; Flamingo Road (1949) with Crawford; Daves' Task Force (1949) with Gary Cooper; Always Leave Them Laughing (1949) with Milton Berle; and The Inspector General (1949) with Danny Kaye.

Wald produced Young Man with a Horn (1950) with Kirk Douglas; Perfect Strangers (1950) with Morgan and Ginger Rogers; Sherman's The Damned Don't Cry (1950) with Crawford; Caged (1950), with Eleanor Parker; the first adaptation of The Glass Menagerie (1950); The Breaking Point (1950), from a Hemingway novel, with Garfield; and Storm Warning (1951), an anti-Ku Klux Klan film with Rogers, Reagan and Doris Day.

An old story of his "Hot Air", shot as Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934), was filmed as the Day musical My Dream Is Yours (1949).

Wald-Krasna Productions

Wald and Norman Krasna formed Wald/Krasna Productions to release films through RKO Radio Pictures. Howard Hughes reportedly paid Warners $150,000 to release Wald from his contract with them. They were to make 12 films a year for five years with a budget of $50 million.[1]

Their movies together included Two Tickets to Broadway (1951), a musical; The Blue Veil (1951), with Jane Wyman; Behave Yourself! (1952), a comedy with Shelley Winters; The Lusty Men (1952), a rodeo drama with Robert Mitchum; and Clash by Night (1953), from a play by Clifford Odets. Wald did some uncredited producing on Macao (1952) with Robert Mitchum.

Krasna and Wald dissolved their partnership because of interference from Howard Hughes, then head of RKO, in their productions.


Wald went over to Columbia in 1952 as vice president in charge of production.[1]

At Columbia he produced Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) starring Rita Hayworth; Queen Bee (1955) with Crawford, directed by Ranald MacDougall; The Harder They Fall (1956), Bogart's last movie; and The Eddy Duchin Story (1957), a biopic with Tyrone Power and Kim Novak.

Jerry Wald Productions at 20th Century Fox

Wald signed a contract with 20th Century Fox where he established Jerry Wald Productions. He had a solid hit with An Affair to Remember (1957) starring Grant and Deborah Kerr, and some minor ones with No Down Payment (1957) directed by Martin Ritt, and Kiss Them for Me (1957) with Grant. Wald had one of the biggest successes of his career with Peyton Place (1957), directed by Mark Robson.

Wald also produced The Long, Hot Summer (1958) with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward from the novel by William Faulkner for Ritt; In Love and War (1958), a war film with Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter directed by Philip Dunne; Mardi Gras (1958) a musical with Pat Boone; and The Sound and the Fury (1959), more Faulkner from Ritt with Woodward and Yul Brynner.

During this time Wald told the press that a filmmaker's motto should be "Don't offend the innocent but don't frustrate the intelligent."[4]

Wald produced The Best of Everything (1959) with Crawford, directed by Negulesco; Hound-Dog Man (1959), an attempt to make a film star of Fabian Forte; Beloved Infidel (1959) with Kerr and Gregory Peck; The Story on Page One (1959), written and directed by Odets, starring Hayworth.

Final Films

Wald spent a period in England to make Sons and Lovers (1960). Back in Hollywood he produced Let's Make Love (also 1960), Marilyn Monroe's penultimate film; Return to Peyton Place (1961); Wild in the Country (1961), an Elvis Presley film written by Odets and directed by Dunne; Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) starring James Stewart and Fabian; Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962) for Ritt with Richard Beymer; The Stripper (1963) with Woodward and Beymer.

He also produced the Academy Awards telecast twice, the ceremonies for 1957 and 1958.[5]

Among the films Wald was working on at the time of his death were adaptations of The Enemy Within, Ulysses and A High Wind in Jamaica.[1]


He received four Academy Award nominations as producer of the following nominees for Best Picture: Mildred Pierce, Johnny Belinda, Peyton Place and Sons and Lovers.[6] Although he never won a competitive Academy Award, he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1949.[7]


Wald is often cited as the real-life inspiration for the character Sammy Glick in the novel What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg.

Jerry Wald, was a close friend of Joan Crawford in the forties, offering her many parts including the title role in Mildred Pierce, which he produced. He convinced director Michael Curtiz that she would succeed in the role, which brought her the Oscar for Best Actress in 1946. Jerry Wald not only produced Mildred Pierce, but also Humoresque (1946), considered one of the best performances of Crawford's career, Across the Pacific (1942), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Possessed (1947), Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950). After her career at Warner's fizzled out slowly even though she wished to remain with Warner's, after years of reinventing herself, she bought out her contract. Afterwards, she bought the rights to a screenplay called Sudden Fear which brought her a third Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in 1953.


Wald married his wife Constance Emily "Connie" Polan (née Polan, August 13, 1916 – November 10, 2012) on Christmas Day 1941; the couple had two sons. She became a California socialite and hostess whose dinner parties continued after her husband died.[8][9]


Wald had been ill for the last few years of his life. He died, aged 50, at his home in Beverly Hills, California from a heart attack.

Films as writer

Select Filmography as Producer


  1. ^ a b c d e Special to The New York Times. (1962, Jul 14). Jerry wald is dead; movie producer, 49. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. ^ Film producer jerry wald dies at his home after heart attack. (1962, Jul 14). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  3. ^ Cones, John. Motion Picture Biographies: The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures. p. 42. ISBN 9781628941166.
  4. ^ By, N. E. (1958, May 07). Wald to make film in boston. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. ^ Jerry Wald credits at IMDb
  6. ^ Osborne, Robert (1994). 65 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards. London: Abbeville Press. pp. 88, 110, 147, and 164. ISBN 1-55859-715-8.
  7. ^ Osborne, p. 131
  8. ^ Yardley, William (November 17, 2012). "Connie Wald, Whose Meals Became a Hollywood Tradition, Dies at 96". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  9. ^ Barnes, Mike (November 17, 2012). "Connie Wald, Who Loved Having Hollywood Over for Dinner, Dies at 96". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2019.

External links

Beloved Infidel

Beloved Infidel is a 1959 DeLuxe Color biographical drama film made by 20th Century Fox CinemaScope and based on the relationship of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham. The film was directed by Henry King and produced by Jerry Wald from a screenplay by Sy Bartlett, based on the memoir by Sheilah Graham and Gerold Frank. The music score was by Franz Waxman, the cinematography by Leon Shamroy and the art direction by Lyle R. Wheeler and Maurice Ransford.

The film stars Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr, with Eddie Albert and Philip Ober.

Bill Perkins (saxophonist)

William Reese Perkins ((1924-07-22)July 22, 1924 – (2003-08-10)August 10, 2003) was an American cool jazz saxophonist and flutist popular on the West Coast jazz scene, known primarily as a tenor saxophonist. Born in San Francisco, California, Perkins started out performing in the big bands of Woody Herman and Jerry Wald. He also worked for the Stan Kenton orchestra, which led to his entry into the cool jazz idiom. He began performing with Art Pepper and Bud Shank. He was also a member of The Tonight Show Band from 1970–1992. He is probably most remembered, however, for playing tenor for The Lighthouse All-Stars. When gigs became scarce in the 1960s, Perkins had a parallel career as a recording engineer.

Brother Orchid

Brother Orchid is a 1940 American crime/comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Edward G. Robinson, Ann Sothern and Humphrey Bogart, with featured performances by Donald Crisp, Ralph Bellamy and Allen Jenkins. The screenplay was written by Earl Baldwin, with uncredited contributions from Jerry Wald and Richard Macauley, based on a story by Richard Connell originally published in Collier's Magazine on May 21, 1938.

Enchanted (The Platters song)

"Enchanted" is a song written by Buck Ram and performed by The Platters. It reached #9 on the U.S. R&B chart and #12 on the U.S. pop chart in 1959.The song was produced by Jerry Wald Productions.The song ranked #64 on Billboard magazine's Top 100 singles of 1959.

Garden of the Moon (film)

Garden of the Moon is a 1938 American comedy film directed by Busby Berkeley and written by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay. The film stars Pat O'Brien, Margaret Lindsay, John Payne, Johnnie Davis, Melville Cooper and Isabel Jeans. The film was released by Warner Bros. on October 1, 1938.

Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man

Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man is a 1962 20th Century Fox film directed by Martin Ritt based on Ernest Hemingway's semi-autobiographical character Nick Adams, and featuring Richard Beymer as Adams. A.E. Hotchner wrote the screenplay, originally calling the film Ernest Hemingway's "Young Man". The cast includes Diane Baker, Jessica Tandy, Ricardo Montalban, Eli Wallach, Arthur Kennedy, and Paul Newman. The 145 minute-long film was released in July 1962.

Let's Make Love

Let's Make Love is a 1960 musical comedy film made by 20th Century Fox in DeLuxe Color and CinemaScope. It was directed by George Cukor and produced by Jerry Wald from a screenplay by Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter, and Arthur Miller. It starred Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, and Tony Randall. It would be Monroe's last musical film performance.

Manpower (1941 film)

Manpower is a 1941 film noir directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, and George Raft. The picture was written by Richard Macauley and Jerry Wald, and the supporting cast features Alan Hale, Frank McHugh, Eve Arden, Barton MacLane, Ward Bond, and Walter Catlett.

Robinson and Raft got into a fistfight on the set that was eagerly splashed all over the front pages of the nation's newspapers. Victor McLaglen was originally going to play Robinson's role, which would have made it a supporting part, and Raft reportedly resented sharing leading man status on the film as a result of Robinson being cast instead.

Raft chose Manpower over the remake of the 1931 pre-Code version of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, and the career-catapulting role of Sam Spade went to Humphrey Bogart instead.

The script is one of many reworkings of the plotline for a 1932 Robinson movie called Tiger Shark, in which Robinson played essentially the same part, only as a tuna fisherman rather than an electric power lineman.

Navy Blues (1941 film)

Navy Blues is a 1941 American musical comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and written by Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Arthur T. Horman and Sam Perrin. The film stars Ann Sheridan, Jack Oakie, Martha Raye, Jack Haley, Herbert Anderson, Jack Carson, Jackie Gleason and William T. Orr. The film was released by Warner Bros. on September 13, 1941.

Peyton Place (film)

Peyton Place is a 1957 American film drama from 20th Century Fox, in color by De Luxe and CinemaScope, that was produced by Jerry Wald, directed by Mark Robson, and stars Lana Turner and Hope Lange. In co-starring and supporting roles are Lee Philips, Lloyd Nolan, Diane Varsi, Arthur Kennedy, Russ Tamblyn, and Terry Moore. The film is based on the bestselling 1956 novel of the same name by Grace Metalious.

The storyline follows the residents of a small fictional New England mill town in the years surrounding World War II, where scandal, homicide, suicide, incest, and moral hypocrisy belie its tranquil façade.

Sing Me a Love Song

Sing Me a Love Song is a 1936 American musical film directed by Ray Enright and written by Sig Herzig and Jerry Wald. The film stars James Melton, Patricia Ellis, Hugh Herbert, ZaSu Pitts, Allen Jenkins and Nat Pendleton. The Warner Bros. film premiered in New York City on Christmas Day 1936 and went into general release on January 9, 1937.

Sons o' Guns

Sons o' Guns is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon and written by Jerry Wald and Julius J. Epstein that was based on a stage play by Fred Thompson and Jack Donohue. The film stars Joe E. Brown, Joan Blondell, Beverly Roberts, Eric Blore, Craig Reynolds and Wini Shaw. It was released by Warner Bros. on May 30, 1936.

Stars Over Broadway

Stars Over Broadway is a 1935 American musical film directed by William Keighley, written by Jerry Wald, Julius J. Epstein, & Pat C. Flick, and starring Pat O'Brien, Jane Froman, James Melton, Jean Muir, Frank McHugh, and Eddie Conrad. It was released by Warner Bros. on November 23, 1935.

Sweet Music

Sweet Music is a 1935 American musical film directed by Alfred E. Green, written by Jerry Wald, Carl Erickson and Warren Duff, and starring Rudy Vallée, Ann Dvorak, Ned Sparks, Helen Morgan, Robert Armstrong and Allen Jenkins. It was released by Warner Bros. on February 23, 1935.

The Kid from Kokomo

The Kid from Kokomo is a 1939 American comedy film directed by Lewis Seiler and written by Richard Macaulay and Jerry Wald. The film stars Pat O'Brien, Wayne Morris, Joan Blondell, May Robson, Jane Wyman and Stanley Fields. The film was released by Warner Bros. on May 23, 1939.

The Lusty Men

The Lusty Men is a 1952 western film made by Wald-Krasna productions and RKO Radio Pictures. The film stars Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy, and Arthur Hunnicutt. It was directed by Nicholas Ray and produced by Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna from a screenplay by David Dortort, Horace McCoy, Alfred Hayes, Andrew Solt, and Jerry Wald based on the novel by Claude Stanush. The music score was by Roy Webb and the cinematography by Lee Garmes.

The film's world premiere was at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.

Three Cheers for the Irish

Three Cheers for the Irish is a 1940 comedy film directed by Lloyd Bacon, written by Richard Macaulay and Jerry Wald, and starring Priscilla Lane, Thomas Mitchell and Dennis Morgan. The supporting cast features Virginia Grey, Alan Hale, Sr. and William Lundigan. The plot involves a veteran police officer (Mitchell) forced into retirement only to learn that his replacement (Morgan), whom he detests, is romancing his daughter (Lane). The film was released by Warner Bros. on March 16, 1940.

Varsity Show (film)

Varsity Show is a 1937 American musical film directed by William Keighley from a script by Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Warren Duff and Sig Herzig and starring Dick Powell, Fred Waring and Waring's Pennsylvanians, Ted Healy, and Priscilla Lane. Released by Warner Bros., it features songs by Richard A. Whiting and many others. The finale was directed by Busby Berkeley.

Young Man with a Horn (film)

Young Man with a Horn is a 1950 American musical drama film based on a novel of the same name by Dorothy Baker inspired by the life of

Bix Beiderbecke, the jazz cornetist. The movie stars Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Hoagy Carmichael, and Juano Hernandez, and was directed by Michael Curtiz and produced by Jerry Wald. The screenplay was written by Carl Foreman and Edmund H. North.

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