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Julius J. Epstein

Julius J. Epstein

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Also Known As: Julius Epstein Died: December 30, 2000
Born: August 22, 1909 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, playwright, producer, radio publicist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The directors with whom screenwriter Julius J Epstein collaborated reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood notables. After working as a radio publicist and writing some one-act plays, he signed on with Warner Bros., receiving his first screenwriting credit for "Living on Velvet" (1934). Epstein would write four screenplays (the last one, 1941's "Honeymoon for Three", with his twin brother-writing partner Philip) for prolific director Lloyd Bacon, who had learned his trade at the elbow of Mack Sennett after years of playing the perfect foil to Charlie Chaplin. He also worked on five screenplays (three with his brother) for William Keighley, most notably "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1941), adapted from the George S Kaufman and Moss Hart play. However, the helmsman with whom he worked most often was Michael Curtiz. Epstein and his brother provided the structure and much of the wit for the Oscar-winning screenplay of Curtiz's masterpiece "Casablanca" (1943), as well as contributing to the director's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" the year before. He also received an Oscar nomination for his efforts on Curtiz's "Four Daughters" (1938).For the Warners, Epstein and his brother collaborated on Raoul Walsh's "The...

The directors with whom screenwriter Julius J Epstein collaborated reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood notables. After working as a radio publicist and writing some one-act plays, he signed on with Warner Bros., receiving his first screenwriting credit for "Living on Velvet" (1934). Epstein would write four screenplays (the last one, 1941's "Honeymoon for Three", with his twin brother-writing partner Philip) for prolific director Lloyd Bacon, who had learned his trade at the elbow of Mack Sennett after years of playing the perfect foil to Charlie Chaplin. He also worked on five screenplays (three with his brother) for William Keighley, most notably "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1941), adapted from the George S Kaufman and Moss Hart play. However, the helmsman with whom he worked most often was Michael Curtiz. Epstein and his brother provided the structure and much of the wit for the Oscar-winning screenplay of Curtiz's masterpiece "Casablanca" (1943), as well as contributing to the director's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" the year before. He also received an Oscar nomination for his efforts on Curtiz's "Four Daughters" (1938).

For the Warners, Epstein and his brother collaborated on Raoul Walsh's "The Strawberry Blonde" (1941), Elliott Nugent's "The Male Animal" (1942, based on the Nugent-James Thurber play) and Frank Capra's adaptation of Joseph Kesselring's play "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944). The pair also worked with Mark Robson ("My Foolish Heart" 1950, based on a J D Salinger story), George Cukor ("Born Yesterday" 1950, uncredited from the Garson Kanin play) and Richard Brooks, ("The Last Time I Saw Paris" 1954, based on an F Scott Fitzgerald story, and "The Brothers Karamazov" 1958, adapted from the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevski), among other directors. Beginning with Philip Leacock's "Take a Giant Step" (1958), which he also produced, Epstein wrote alone for the most part, scripting Joshua Logan's "Tall Story" (1960) and "Fanny" (1961), Norman Jewison's "Send Me No Flowers" (1964) and Robert Ellis Miller's directorial debut, "Any Wednesday" (1966), before earning his third Oscar nomination for Martin Ritt's "Pete 'n' Tillie" (1972, also co-producer). His collaboration on Sam Peckinpaugh's "Cross of Iron" (1977) preceded a final success with his last screenplay (to date) for Miller's "Reuben, Reuben" (1983), which earned him a fourth Oscar nomination.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Bacall On Bogart (1988)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career at <i>Billboard</i> magazine; later became a radio publicist
1933:
Moved to Los Angeles when hired by producer Jerry Wald as a ghostwriter
1934:
Wrote first screenplay, "Living on Velvet"
1935:
First film with director Michael Curtiz, "Little Big Shot"
1936:
Broadway playwriting debut, "And Stars Remain", featuring Clifton Webb
1938:
Received first Oscar nomination for script to Curtiz's "Four Daughters"
1939:
Began collaboration with brother Philip G Epstein on Curtiz's "Daughters Courageous"
1942:
Scripted (with brother and two others) Curtiz's "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
1943:
Won Oscar for screenplay (written with brother and Howard Koch) for Curtiz's "Casablanca"
1944:
First producing credit, Vincent Sherman's "Mr. Skeffington"; also wrote screenplay with brother
1944:
Returned to Broadway with "Chicken Every Sunday"
1948:
Seventh and last film with Curtiz, "Romance on the High Seas"
1954:
Co-wrote (with brother) book for "Saturday Night", a musical with a score by Stephen Sondheim; project abandoned when producer Lemuel Ayres died; produced in England in 1998
1954:
First screen collaboration with Richard Brooks, co-adapted "The Last Time I Saw Paris" with brother Philip
1958:
Adapted Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" for movie directed by Brooks; last writing collaboration with brother
1960:
First collaboration with Joshua Logan, "Tall Story"
1966:
Wrote screenplay for Robert Ellis Miller's feature directing debut, "Any Wednesday"; last film for six years
1972:
Picked up third Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay for "Pete 'n' Tillie"
1977:
Wrote screenplay (with Herbert Asmondi) for Sam Peckinpaugh's only war movie, "Cross of Iron", adapting Willi Heinrich's book "Das Geduldige Fleisch"
1978:
Collaborated with Max Shulman on the comedy "House Calls"
1983:
Reteamed with Robert Ellis Miller for "Reuben, Reuben"; co-produced and wrote screenplay, adapting source material (Herman Shumlin's play "Spofford" and a Peter de Vries novel); son Philip served as an associate producer; received Academy Award nomination for screenplay
1998:
"Saturday Night", with book credited only to Julius; produced in London
2000:
Off-Broadway premiere of "Saturday Night"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Erasmus Hall High School: Brooklyn , New York -
Pennsylvania State University: University Park , Pennsylvania - 1931

Notes

In 1963, when his two-story home in Bel Air was partially destroyed in a fire, Epstein reportedly quipped, "Well, we always wanted a one-story house."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Frances Sage. Actor. Married from April 1936 until 1949; divorced.
wife:
Ann Margot Wassermann. Married on September 1, 1949.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Henry Epstein. Livery stable proprietor.
mother:
Sarah Epstein.
brother:
Philip G Epstein. Screenwriter. Twin; collaborated on Oscar-winning script to "Casablanca", among many others; died on February 7, 1952.
daughter:
Elizabeth Doris Epstein Schwartz. Born in April 1939; mother, Frances Satz.
son:
James Michael Epstein. Attorney. Born in June 1940; mother, Frances Satz.
son:
Philip Berthold Epstein. Born in May 1953; died in January 2000; mother, Ann Margot Wassermann.
nephew:
Leslie Epstein. Novelist.
nephew:
Richard Epstein. Novelist.
grandniece:
Anya Epstein. Screenwriter, producer. Married to actor Dan Futterman.
grandson:
Tim Schwartz.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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