Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, best known for his long collaboration with Billy Wilder.
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Brackett was born November 26, 1892 in Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Mary Emma Corliss and New York State Senator, lawyer, and banker Edgar Truman Brackett. The family's roots traced back to the arrival of Richard Brackett in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629, near present-day Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother's uncle, George Henry Corliss, built the Centennial Engine that powered the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. A 1915 graduate of Williams College, he earned his degree from Harvard University. He joined the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I. He was awarded the French Medal of Honor. He was a frequent contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, and Vanity Fair, and a drama critic for The New Yorker from 1925-29. He wrote five novels: The Counsel of the Ungodly (1920), Week-End (1925), That Last Infirmity (1926), American Colony (1929), and Entirely Surrounded (1934).
Brackett was president of the Screen Writers Guild (1938–1939). He was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1949 through 1955. Brackett either wrote or produced over 40 films during his career, including To Each His Own, Ninotchka, The Major and the Minor, The Mating Season (1951), Niagara, The King and I, Ten North Frederick, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, and Blue Denim.
From 1936-50, Brackett worked with Billy Wilder as his collaborator on thirteen movies, including The Lost Weekend (1945) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), which won Academy Awards for their screenplays. The duo's professional partnership ended in 1950, after the completion of Sunset Boulevard. Brackett then went to work at 20th Century-Fox as a screenwriter and producer. His script for Titanic (1953) won him another Academy Award. He received an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1959.
Brackett married Elizabeth Barrows Fletcher, a descendant of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, on June 2, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana. They had two daughters, Alexandra Corliss Brackett, Mrs. Larmore (1920–1965) and Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett (1922–1997). Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett died on June 7, 1948. In 1953, Brackett married his sister-in-law (Elizabeth's sister, Lillian Fletcher); that union was childless.
Charles Brackett died on March 9, 1969, aged 77, in Beverly Hills, California. His diaries covering the years 1932 until the breakup with Wilder were edited by Anthony Slide under the title It's the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age (Columbia University Press, 2014).
("*" indicates collaboration with Billy Wilder)
|1939||Best Adapted Screenplay||Ninotchka||Nominated||Billy Wilder & Walter Reisch|
|1941||Best Adapted Screenplay||Hold Back the Dawn||Nominated||Billy Wilder|
|1945||Best Picture||The Lost Weekend||Won||N/A|
|1945||Best Adapted Screenplay||The Lost Weekend||Won||Billy Wilder|
|1948||Best Adapted Screenplay||A Foreign Affair||Nominated||Billy Wilder & Richard L. Breen|
|1950||Best Picture||Sunset Boulevard||Nominated||N/A|
|1950||Best Original Screenplay||Sunset Boulevard||Won||Billy Wilder & D. M. Marshman Jr.|
|1953||Best Original Screenplay||Titanic||Won||Richard L. Breen & Walter Reisch|
|1956||Best Picture||The King and I||Nominated||N/A|
Charles Brackett was born in Saratoga Springs, NY, and graduated in 1915 from Williams College, where he was editor of the literary monthly and a member of…
|Non-profit organization positions|
|President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences