The Info List - Ernest Lehman

Ernest Paul Lehman[1] (December 8, 1915 – July 2, 2005) was an American screenwriter.[2] He was nominated six times for Academy Awards for his screenplays during his career, but did not win.[2] At the 73rd Academy Awards
Academy Awards
in 2001, he received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his achievements and his influential works for the screen. His work inspired new generations of screenwriters and captivated filmmakers, actors, film critics, and audiences. He was the first screenwriter to receive that honor. The award was presented to him by Julie Andrews, a friend and star of The Sound of Music. He received two Edgar Awards of the Mystery Writers of America for screenplays for suspense films he wrote for director Alfred Hitchcock: North by Northwest
North by Northwest
(1959), his only original screenplay, and Family Plot (1976), one of numerous adaptations.


1 Early years 2 Amateur radio 3 Collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock 4 Other projects 5 Death 6 Writing credits

6.1 Filmography 6.2 Bibliography

7 Accolades 8 References 9 External links

Early years[edit] Lehman was born in 1915 to Gertrude (Thorn) and Paul E. Lehman.[3] Their wealthy Jewish family was based on Long Island;[4] they had suffered major financial losses during the Great Depression. Lehman attended the College of the City of New York (The City College of New York). After graduation, he started working as a freelance writer. Lehman felt that freelancing was a "very nervous way to make a living", so he began writing copy for a publicity firm that focused on plays and celebrities. He drew from this experience for the screenplay of the film Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell of Success
(1957), which he co-wrote with playwright Clifford Odets. Lehman also published many short stories and novellas in magazines such as Colliers, Redbook
and Cosmopolitan. These attracted the attention of Hollywood
managers, and in the mid-1950s Paramount Pictures signed him to a writing contract. His first film, Executive Suite (1954), was a success. Lehman was asked to collaborate on the romantic comedy Sabrina (1954), which was released the same year and also became a hit. Some of his most notable works are the screenplay adaptations of the musical West Side Story (1961)[2] and the mega-hit film version of The Sound of Music (1965), another musical.[2] Amateur radio[edit] Lehman held amateur radio callsign K6DXK. He was an active member of the Bel Air Repeater Association. Collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock[edit] In 1958, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
had hired Hitchcock to make a film called The Wreck of the Mary Deare. Collaborating with Lehman, Hitchcock produced North by Northwest
North by Northwest
(1959) instead. This was one of Lehman's few original screenplays (rather than adaptations). The film starred Cary Grant
Cary Grant
as Roger O. Thornhill, a Madison Avenue advertising executive who is mistaken for a government agent by a group of menacing spies (led by James Mason
James Mason
and Martin Landau). Lehman later said he intended North by Northwest
North by Northwest
to be "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures." The writing process took Lehman a year, including several periods of writer's block, as well as a trip to Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
to do research for the film's climax. North by Northwest
North by Northwest
was one of Lehman's greatest triumphs in Hollywood and a huge hit for Hitchcock. For his efforts, Lehman received an Academy Award
Academy Award
nomination for Best Original Screenplay, as well as a 1960 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. Other projects[edit] In addition to screenwriting, Lehman tried his hand at producing. He was among the few people who initially favored a film adaptation of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He persuaded studio executive Jack L. Warner
Jack L. Warner
to allow him to take on the project, and the film was a critical sensation, garnering many Academy Award nominations. Lehman was also nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Award
for his screenplay for Hello, Dolly! (1969), starring Barbra Streisand.[2] In 1972, Lehman directed Portnoy's Complaint, based on the novel by Philip Roth; this was his only directorial work.[2] Later, he earned another Edgar Award for his screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot (1976). By 1979, Lehman had stopped writing screenplays, aside from some television projects. He turned down offers to write for Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs and Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible. Lehman completed adaptations for two films that were never made: a screenplay for the Noël Coward
Noël Coward
classic Hay Fever, and one for a musical version of Zorba the Greek. The latter was intended for direction by Robert Wise
Robert Wise
and starring actors Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
and John Travolta. In 1977, Lehman published the bestselling novel The French Atlantic Affair, about a group of unemployed, middle-class Americans who hijack a French cruise ship for a $35 million ransom. It was adapted as a TV miniseries in 1979. Death[edit] Lehman died at UCLA Medical Center
UCLA Medical Center
after a prolonged illness. He was buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
in Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife Laurie and their son Jonathan, as well as by two sons (Roger and Alan) from his first marriage. Writing credits[edit] Filmography[edit]

Executive Suite (1954) Sabrina (with Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
& Samuel Taylor) (1954) Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) The King and I (1956) Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell of Success
(with Clifford Odets) (1957) (also Story) North by Northwest
North by Northwest
(1959) From the Terrace
From the Terrace
(1960) West Side Story
West Side Story
(1961) The Prize (1963) The Sound of Music (1965) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(1966) Hello, Dolly! (1969) Portnoy's Complaint (1972) (also Director) Family Plot
Family Plot
(1976) Black Sunday (with Kenneth Ross and Ivan Moffat) (1977)


Sweet Smell of Success: And Other Stories, short stories (1957) The French Atlantic Affair, novel (1977) Screening Sickness and Other Tales of Tinsel Town, essays (1982) Farewell Performance, novel (1982)

Accolades[edit] Lehman received a total of six Academy Award
Academy Award
nominations throughout his whole career, yet he failed to receive a single win. At the 73rd Academy Awards
Academy Awards
ceremony in 2001, he became the first screenwriter to receive an Honorary Academy Award
Academy Award
from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Lehman did, however, receive more honorable recognition from the Writers Guild of America than any other screenwriter in film history.

Award Date of ceremony Category Film Result

Academy Award 1955 Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Sabrina (shared with Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
and Samuel A. Taylor) Lost to George Seaton
George Seaton
for The Country Girl Nominated

1960 Best Writing, Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen North by Northwest Lost to Russell Rouse, Clarence Greene, Stanley Shapiro, and Maurice Richlin for Pillow Talk

1962 Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium West Side Story Lost to Abby Mann for Judgment at Nuremberg

1967 Best Motion Picture of the Year Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Lost to Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
for A Man for All Seasons

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Lost to Robert Bolt for A Man for All Seasons

1970 Best Motion Picture of the Year Hello, Dolly! Lost to Jerome Hellman for Midnight Cowboy

2001 Academy Honorary Award "in appreciation of a body of varied and enduring work." Honorary

Golden Globe Award 1955 Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Sabrina (shared with Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
and Samuel A. Taylor) Won

1967 Best Motion Picture – Drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Lost to Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
for A Man for All Seasons Nominated

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Lost to Robert Bolt for A Man for All Seasons

1970 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Hello, Dolly! Lost to Stanley Kramer
Stanley Kramer
and George Glass
George Glass
for The Secret of Santa Vittoria

Edgar Allan Poe Award 1960 Best Motion Picture Screenplay North by Northwest Won

1977 Family Plot

1978 Black Sunday (shared with Kenneth Ross and Ivan Moffat) Lost to Robert Benton for The Late Show Nominated

Writers Guild of America Award 1955 Best Written American Comedy Sabrina (shared with Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
and Samuel A. Taylor) Won

Best Written American Drama Executive Suite Lost to Budd Schulberg
Budd Schulberg
for On the Waterfront Nominated

1957 Somebody Up There Likes Me Lost to Michael Wilson for Friendly Persuasion

Best Written American Musical The King and I Won

1960 Best Written American Comedy North by Northwest Lost to Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder
and I. A. L. Diamond for Some Like It Hot Nominated

1962 Best Written American Musical West Side Story Won

1966 The Sound of Music

1967 Best Written American Drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1972 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement


1977 Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium Family Plot Lost to Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
and Frank Waldman for The Pink Panther Strikes Again Nominated


^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/98/Ernest-Lehman.html ^ a b c d e f Fox, Margalit (July 6, 2005). "Ernest Lehman, 89, Who Wrote 'North by Northwest,' Dies". The New York Times.  ^ [1] ^ Erens, Patricia (1998). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-253-20493-6. 

External links[edit]

Biography portal

Ernest Lehman on IMDb Ernest Lehman at the Internet Broadway Database
Internet Broadway Database
Ernest Lehman's North by Northwest
North by Northwest
shooting script Ernest Lehman photograph by photographer/filmmaker Clay Walker Ernest Lehman at Find a Grave

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 92043193 LCCN: n82057047 ISNI: 0000 0001 1076 765X GND: 130156116 SUDOC: 048649732 BNF: cb13983641r (data) BNE: XX869531 SNAC: w6m33g8z

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