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Michael Kanin

Michael Kanin

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Also Known As: Died: March 12, 1993
Born: February 1, 1910 Cause of Death: congestive heart failure
Birth Place: Rochester, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, producer, director, musician, commercial artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

While not as well-known as his younger brother Garson, Michael Kanin was an Oscar-winning screenwriter who collaborated on two romantic comedy classics, 1942's "Woman of the Year", which teamed Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn for the first time, and the 1958 Clark Gable-Doris Day vehicle "Teacher's Pet".Born and raised in the state of New York, Kanin began as a commercial and scenic artist before turning to writing. In 1939, he debuted as both a playwright (with the relatively obscure "We the Willoughbys", co-written with Harry Ingram) and as a screenwriter ("Panama Lady", an RKO vehicle for Lucille Ball). The following year he married Fay Mitchell and by 1942, the married couple was under contract at MGM where they teamed with Allen Rivken on the low-budget "Sunday Punch". That same year, his work with Lardner on "Woman of the Year" catapulted him to the front ranks, particularly after they shared the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. He and Lardner again worked together as two of the credited writers on "The Cross of Lorraine" (1943). Four years later, Kanin served as producer on "A Double Life" (1947), scripted by his brother and sister-in-law, Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. This melodrama about...

While not as well-known as his younger brother Garson, Michael Kanin was an Oscar-winning screenwriter who collaborated on two romantic comedy classics, 1942's "Woman of the Year", which teamed Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn for the first time, and the 1958 Clark Gable-Doris Day vehicle "Teacher's Pet".

Born and raised in the state of New York, Kanin began as a commercial and scenic artist before turning to writing. In 1939, he debuted as both a playwright (with the relatively obscure "We the Willoughbys", co-written with Harry Ingram) and as a screenwriter ("Panama Lady", an RKO vehicle for Lucille Ball). The following year he married Fay Mitchell and by 1942, the married couple was under contract at MGM where they teamed with Allen Rivken on the low-budget "Sunday Punch". That same year, his work with Lardner on "Woman of the Year" catapulted him to the front ranks, particularly after they shared the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. He and Lardner again worked together as two of the credited writers on "The Cross of Lorraine" (1943). Four years later, Kanin served as producer on "A Double Life" (1947), scripted by his brother and sister-in-law, Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. This melodrama about an actor who too closely identifies with a role he is playing is recalled for its Oscar-winning lead performance by Ronald Colman.

In the 1950s, Kanin added directing to his resume with "When I Grow Up" (1951), a modestly-budgeted film for Eagle Lion which starred Bobby Driscoll as a lad who discovers how much he has in common with his grandfather. He and his wife enjoyed a successful pairing as screenwriters with "My Pal Gus" (1952), a wholesome Richard Widmark vehicle in which he learns to be a father and a giving lover, followed by "Rhapsody" (1954), a triangular love story starring Elizabeth Taylor. The Kanins penned "The Other Sex" (1956), the quasi-musical remake of Clare Booth Luce's campy bitchfest "The Women" (originally filmed in 1939). "Teacher's Pet" brought the husband and wife team an Oscar nomination. Additionally, the spouses penned a stage version of the classic 1950 Japanese film "Rashomon", which Michael Kanin later adapted for the screen in 1964 as the western "The Outrage". Their final screenplay together was the swashbuckler "The Swordsman of Siena" (1962).

In the late 60s, Kanin began a second collaboration with writer Ben Starr that resulted in the Bob Hope comedy " "How to Commit Marriage" (1969) and the 1974 L.A. produced play "M. Lord and Lady", after which he more or less retired until his death from congestive heart failure in 1993.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  When I Grow Up (1951) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1927:
Worked as commercial and scenic artist and as a musician
1939:
Had first play produced, "We, the Willoughbys";
1939:
Screenwriting debut, "Panama Lady"
1940:
Teamed with wife Fay Kanin for first time on "Sunday Punch"
1942:
With Ring Lardner Jr., co-wrote "Woman of the Year", first Tracy-Hepburn romantic match-up; earned Academy Award
1947:
Debut as feature film producer, "A Double Life", written by brother Garson Kanin and his wife Ruth Gordon
1951:
Made directorial debut with "When I Grow Up"
1958:
Netted second Oscar nomination for screenwriting for "Teacher's Pet", written with Fay Kanin
1961:
With Fay Kanin, penned the stage musical "The Gay Life"
1964:
Was associate producer and co-writer (with wife Fay) of "The Outrage", an Americanization of "Rashomon"
1969:
With Ben Starr, wrote "How to Commit Marriage"; last produced screenplay
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York School of Design: New York , New York - 1929

Notes

"Woman of the Year" was adapted into a stage musical and produced on Broadway in 1981 starring Lauren Bacall (later Raquel Welch). The book for the musical was written by Peter H. Stone, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Fay Kanin. Writer. Born May 9, 1917 in NYC; married from 1940 until his death in 1993.

Family close complete family listing

father:
David Kanin. Builder.
mother:
Sadie Kanin.
brother:
Garson Kanin. Director, screenwriter, playwright.
sister-in-law:
Ruth Gordon. Actor, screenwriter. Died in 1985.
sister-in-law:
Marian Seldes. Actor. Second wife of Garson Kanin.
son:
Josh Kanin.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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