Wolf Mankowitz


Novelist

About

Also Known As
Cyril Wolf Mankowitz
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
November 07, 1924
Died
May 20, 1998

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 cam...

Family & Companions

Ann Margaret Seligmann
Wife
Married in 1944; survived him.

Bibliography

"A Night with Casanova"
Wolf Mankowitz (1991)
"Exquisite Cadaver"
Wolf Mankowitz (1990)
"The Magis Cabinet of Professor Smucker"
Wolf Mankowitz (1988)
"Gioconda"
Wolf Mankowitz (1987)

Notes

Appointed Honorary Consul in Dublin to the Republic of Panama

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 "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).

Life Events

1947

Began career as antiques dealer with a small shop in the Piccadilly Arcade in London

1949

Started specializing in antique Wedgwood

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"

1991

Disclosed he was suffering with cancer after publication of novel "A Night with Casanova"

Videos

Movie Clip

Where The Spies Are (1965) - Car Of The Young Millionaires Short-handed Brit spy-master MacGillivray (John Le Mesurier) with aide Jackson (Noel Harrison) discovers that former WWII part-time agent Dr. Love (David Niven) is an enthusiast of the rare American Cord sports car line, giving him the angle he needs to recruit him for a mission in Beirut, early in Where The Spies Are, 1965
Where The Spies Are (1965) - Teeth, Lots Of Teeth! In Rome en route to Beirut, Dr. Love (David Niven), just recruited by his former British Intelligence masters for a one-off mission, not yet comfortable with the code language, has a couple of missteps before model Vikki (Francoise Dorleac) presents herself as his contact, in producer-director Val Guest's Where The Spies Are, 1965.
Bespoke Overcoat, The (1956) - An Old Man Is An Old Man London tailor Morrie (David Kossoff) with the ghost of friend Fender (Alfie Bass), whom he just buried with the overcoat he’d made for him before he was taken ill, who explains his contempt for Ranking (Alan Tilvern), for whom he worked as a clerk, Jack Clayton directing, in The Bespoke Overcoat, 1956.
Bespoke Overcoat, The (1956) - You're A Good Tailor Opening director Jack Clayton’s adaptation of the play by Wolf Mankowitz, suggested by a Gogol story, the 1956 Academy Award winner for Best Short Subject, David Kossoff as underpaid London jewish tailor Morrie, from The Bespoke Overcoat, co-starring Alfie Bass.
Kid For Two Farthings, A (1956) - It's A Unicorn Roaming London's markets, convinced that a magic unicorn would solve his problems and those of his adult friends, Joe (Jonathan Ashmore) at last finds it, in and offers his savings to a vagrant (Joseph Tomelty), in Carol Reed's A Kid For Two Farthings, 1956.
Kid For Two Farthings, A (1956) - Fix Me A Fight Impatient Sonia (Diana Dors) is persuaded by maybe well-meaning Blackie (Lou Jacobi) that her body-builder boyfriend Sam (Joe Robinson) could make easy money wrestling, young Joe (Jonathan Ashmore) getting interested when Python (Primo Carnera) starts abusing aging Bully (Danny Green), in A Kid For Two Farthings, 1956, from the novel by Wolf Mankowitz.
Kid For Two Farthings, A (1956) - What's Wrong With Muscles? Ted Scaife's camera in London's Jewish Quarter, young Joe (Jonathan Ashmore) meets mum Joanna (Celia Johnson), her boss Avram (David Kossoff) and buddy Sam (Joe Robinson), opening A Kid For Two Farthings 1956, from Wolf Mankowitz's original screenplay.
Casino Royale (1967) - Open, My Credentials Peter Sellers is introduced (with Duncan MacRae) as the first of many 007's, then ornate period credits, but mostly the evocative Burt Bacharach theme song, opening producer Charles K. Feldman's sprawling James Bond spoof, Casino Royale, 1967.
Casino Royale (1967) - The Russians Started It We meet the retired, stuttering, annoyed James Bond (David Niven), visited by English, American, Soviet and French head spooks (director John Huston, William Holden, Kurt Kasznar, Charles Boyer), needing help figuring out who's offing their agents, in the all-star satire Casino Royale, 1967.

Trailer

Family

Solomon Mankowitz
Father
Antiques dealer. Russian Jew who settled in England; originally had a cap stall;.
Gered Mankowitz
Son
Photographer. Survived him.
Daniel Mankowitz
Son
Survived him.
Benjamin Mankowitz
Son
Survived him.

Companions

Ann Margaret Seligmann
Wife
Married in 1944; survived him.

Bibliography

"A Night with Casanova"
Wolf Mankowitz (1991)
"Exquisite Cadaver"
Wolf Mankowitz (1990)
"The Magis Cabinet of Professor Smucker"
Wolf Mankowitz (1988)
"Gioconda"
Wolf Mankowitz (1987)
"The Devil in Texas"
Wolf Mankowitz (1984)
"12 Poems"
Wolf Mankowitz (1979)
"Rasberry Reich"
Wolf Mankowitz (1979)
"The Extraordinary Mr. Poe"
Wolf Mankowitz (1978)
"Dickens of London"
Wolf Mankowitz (1976)
"Cockatrice"
Wolf Mankowitz (1963)
"A Kid for Two Farthings"
Wolf Mankowitz (1953)
"Wedgwood"
Wolf Mankowitz (1953)
"Make Me an Offer"
Wolf Mankowitz (1952)
"Old Soldiers Never Die"
Wolf Mankowitz

Notes

Appointed Honorary Consul in Dublin to the Republic of Panama