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Wolf Mankowitz

Wolf Mankowitz

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Also Known As: Cyril Wolf Mankowitz Died: May 20, 1998
Born: November 7, 1924 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: novelist, screenwriter, playwright, librettist, nightclub owner, journalist, producer, gallery owner, antiques dealer, shopkeeper

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A man of eclectic tastes, Wolf Mankowitz came to prominence as an author in the 1950s but many felt he failed to fully capitalize on his potential. The second son of an immigrant Russian Jew, he was raised in London's East End and attended the University of Cambridge on scholarship. After graduating, Mankowitz became a lecturer, magazine editor and owner of an antiques shop. He later came to be recognized as an expert in Wedgwood and published several monographs and encyclopedia about pottery and porcelain. With the publication of his first novel "Make Me an Offer" in 1952, he drew on his background as an antiques expert. Mankowitz adapted it as a stage musical before it was turned into a 1954 feature. The following year, he wrote his first screenplay, the charming "A Kid for Two Farthings" (1954), a semi-autobiographical series of vignettes directed by Carol Reed set in the Jewish quarter of London near Petticoat Lane which drew on Yiddish folklore as well as the author's childhood memories. After much stage work, he penned the film musical "Expresso Bongo" (1959), about a scheming talent agent, as well as adaptations of George Bernard Shaw's play "The Millionairess" (1960), the Jean Anouilh comedy...

A man of eclectic tastes, Wolf Mankowitz came to prominence as an author in the 1950s but many felt he failed to fully capitalize on his potential. The second son of an immigrant Russian Jew, he was raised in London's East End and attended the University of Cambridge on scholarship. After graduating, Mankowitz became a lecturer, magazine editor and owner of an antiques shop. He later came to be recognized as an expert in Wedgwood and published several monographs and encyclopedia about pottery and porcelain. With the publication of his first novel "Make Me an Offer" in 1952, he drew on his background as an antiques expert. Mankowitz adapted it as a stage musical before it was turned into a 1954 feature. The following year, he wrote his first screenplay, the charming "A Kid for Two Farthings" (1954), a semi-autobiographical series of vignettes directed by Carol Reed set in the Jewish quarter of London near Petticoat Lane which drew on Yiddish folklore as well as the author's childhood memories. After much stage work, he penned the film musical "Expresso Bongo" (1959), about a scheming talent agent, as well as adaptations of George Bernard Shaw's play "The Millionairess" (1960), the Jean Anouilh comedy "Waltz of the Toreadors" (1962) and L.P. Hartley's novel "The Hireling" (1973).

Faced with ill heath and tax problems, Mankowitz decamped to Ireland in the early 70s. A TV version of his biography "Dickens of London" was made for Yorkshire Television in 1976 and aired on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre" the following year. He later became an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico (1982-1988) and published a number of novels. Mankowitz made a one-shot return to films, providing the screenplay for the 1983 documentary on Yiddish filmmaking, "Almonds and Raisins" (1983).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Expresso Bongo (1959) Sandwich Man
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Milestones close milestones

1947:
Began career as antiques dealer with a small shop in the Piccadilly Arcade in London
1949:
Started specializing in antique Wedgwood
:
Expanded business to include antique and modern ceramics and authored books about Wedgwood china
:
At same time wrote poetry, articles of literary and theater criticism and was co-editor of two literary magazines.
1952:
Published first novel, "Make Me An Offer"
1954:
First novel filmed, "Make Me an Offer"; also based on a musical play of his novel
1955:
Wrote first screenplay "A Kid For Two Farthings", based on his book
1960:
Penned screenplay adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's "The Millionairess"
1960:
Set up own theatrical production company
1961:
Began commuting with family between homes in England and Barbados
1961:
With director Val Guest, co-wrote original screenplay "The Day the Earth Caught Fire"; received British Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay
1962:
Scripted screen version of Jean Anouilh's "The Waltz of the Torreadors"
1963:
Provided the book for the stage musical "Pickwick"
1967:
Contributed to the script of "Casino Royale"
1971:
Purchased home in County Cork, Ireland
1972:
Sold antiques business
1973:
Last screenplay for a decade, "The Hireling"
1977:
Turned his biography "Dickens of London" into a TV miniseries (aired in the USA on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre")
1981:
Declared bankrupcy after losing a fight with British Inland Revenue which claimed he owed thousands in back taxes
1982:
Was adjunct professor of English at the University of New Mexico
1983:
Final produced screenplay "Almonds and Raisins"
:
Became adjunct professor of theatre arts at the University of New Mexico
1991:
Disclosed he was suffering with cancer after publication of novel "A Night with Casanova"
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Education

Downing College, University of Cambridge: -
University of Cambridge: -
East Ham Grammar School: -

Notes

Appointed Honorary Consul in Dublin to the Republic of Panama

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ann Margaret Seligmann. Married in 1944; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Solomon Mankowitz. Antiques dealer. Russian Jew who settled in England; originally had a cap stall;.
son:
Gered Mankowitz. Photographer. Survived him.
son:
Daniel Mankowitz. Survived him.
son:
Benjamin Mankowitz. Survived him.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"Make Me an Offer"
"A Kid for Two Farthings"
"Wedgwood"
"Old Soldiers Never Die"
"Cockatrice"
"12 Poems"
"Dickens of London"
"The Extraordinary Mr. Poe"
"Rasberry Reich"
"The Devil in Texas"
"Gioconda"
"The Magis Cabinet of Professor Smucker"
"Exquisite Cadaver"
"A Night with Casanova"
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