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Howard Koch

Howard Koch

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Also Known As: Peter Howard Died: August 17, 1995
Born: December 12, 1902 Cause of Death: pneumonia
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, playwright, radio writer, author, lawyer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Before signing on to write radio shows for Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, Koch had several plays produced under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. His best-known work for Welles was the notorious 1938 adaptation of "The War of the Worlds". With Warner Bros. from 1940, he wrote several outstanding films, notably "The Letter" (1940), "Sergeant York" (1941) and "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (1948), as well as collaborating with the Epstein brothers on the romantic classic "Casablanca" (1942) to which he reputedly brought a political edge by beefing up Rick's political past and romantic penchant for lost causes like fighting on the Loyalists' side in the Spanish Civil War.Following his blacklisting in 1950, Koch used the pseudonym Peter Howard to write the British-produced "Finger of Guilt" (1956), directed by fellow exile Joseph Losey under the pseudonym Joseph Walton.Koch retired to Woodstock, NY where he remained actively involved in local theatre, writing and producing plays. He died of pneumonia at age 93 in August 1995. The following December, Koch's Oscar for "Casablanca" was sold at auction by Christie's for $184,000.

Before signing on to write radio shows for Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, Koch had several plays produced under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. His best-known work for Welles was the notorious 1938 adaptation of "The War of the Worlds". With Warner Bros. from 1940, he wrote several outstanding films, notably "The Letter" (1940), "Sergeant York" (1941) and "Letter from an Unknown Woman" (1948), as well as collaborating with the Epstein brothers on the romantic classic "Casablanca" (1942) to which he reputedly brought a political edge by beefing up Rick's political past and romantic penchant for lost causes like fighting on the Loyalists' side in the Spanish Civil War.

Following his blacklisting in 1950, Koch used the pseudonym Peter Howard to write the British-produced "Finger of Guilt" (1956), directed by fellow exile Joseph Losey under the pseudonym Joseph Walton.

Koch retired to Woodstock, NY where he remained actively involved in local theatre, writing and producing plays. He died of pneumonia at age 93 in August 1995. The following December, Koch's Oscar for "Casablanca" was sold at auction by Christie's for $184,000.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

1929:
Wrote first comedy to be produced on Broadway, "Great Scott!"
1938:
Dramatized Orson Welles' "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast for Mercury Theater of the Air
1940:
Worked as screenwriter in Hollywood
1951:
Blacklisted in Hollywood during the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of supposed Communist sympathizers
:
Moved to Europe and wrote under the pseudonym Peter Howard until the early 1960s
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Education

St Stephen's College: Annandale-on-Hudson , New York - 1922
Columbia University Law School: New York , New York - 1925

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lucie van Tuyl. Mother of Karyl; divorced.
wife:
Anne Green. Married in 1941; mother of Peter; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Karyl Koch Trainor. Mother, Lucie van Tuyl; survived him.
son:
Peter Koch. Mother, Anne Green; survived him.

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