Alvin Sargent


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Born
April 12, 1927

Biography

Philadelphia-born Alvin Sargent was in his mid-30s when he began his career as a screenwriter. He honed his craft penning teleplays for such early 1960s series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." "Naked City," "Route 66" and "Ben Casey." Segueing to features in 1966, he shared screen credit on the Shirley MacLaine-Michael Caine vehicle "Gambit." Sargent went on to distinguish himself as a fi...

Family & Companions

Laura Ziskind
Companion
Producer. Together since c. 1991.

Biography

Philadelphia-born Alvin Sargent was in his mid-30s when he began his career as a screenwriter. He honed his craft penning teleplays for such early 1960s series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." "Naked City," "Route 66" and "Ben Casey." Segueing to features in 1966, he shared screen credit on the Shirley MacLaine-Michael Caine vehicle "Gambit." Sargent went on to distinguish himself as a fine adapter of literary material. While his produced oeuvre is not terribly prolific, it has yielded a number of gems and the screenwriter has proven effective at finding a visual equivalent for the written word. Sargent received solo credit on "The Sterile Cuckoo" (1969) which provided a meaty role for Liza Minnelli and earned his first Academy Award nomination for "Paper Moon" (1973), his fine rendering of Joe David Brown's novel "Addie Pray." While he faltered with the race car romance "Bobby Deerfield" (1977), he took home an Oscar for his lyrical script to "Julia" (also 1977), adapted from Lillian Hellman's memoirs. Sargent won a deserved second statuette from the Academy for his fine rendering of "Ordinary People" (1980), drawn from Judith Guest's novel. He went on to share screen credit on the courtroom drama "Nuts" (1987) and the older woman-younger man romance "White Palace" (1990). For director Norman Jewison, Sargent scripted the slick screen version of Jerry Sterner's hit Off-Broadway play "Other People's Money" (1991) but stumbled with the screenplay for the fantasy "Bogus" (1996), also for Jewison. Three years later, he penned the screenplay adaptation for "Anywhere But Here."

Life Events

1966

First produced screenplay, "Gambit", co-written with Jack Davies

1969

Received solo credit for the script for "The Sterile Cuckoo"

1971

Scripted the NBC TV-movie "The Impatient Heart"

1973

Recieved first Academy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation "Paper Moon"

1977

Won Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Julia"

1980

Earned second Academy Award for his script for "Ordinary People", directed by Robert Redford

1987

Was one of three credited writers on the screenplay for "Nuts"

1990

Co-wrote (with Ted Talley) "White Palace"

1991

Adapted Jerry Sterner's play "Other People's Money" for the screen

1996

Penned the script for "Bogus", from a stroy by Jeff Rothenberg and Francis X McCarthy

1999

Wrote the screen adaptation of Mona Simpson's novel "Anywhere But Here"

Videos

Movie Clip

Gambit (1966) - Will She Cooperate? In the opening we followed Michael Caine, as English Harry, into a Hong Kong club where Shirley MacLaine performs in the revue, and now after the show he reveals to friend Emile (John Abbott) the scheme, and we meet Roger C. Carmel as obsequious Ram, in director Ronald Neame’s Gambit, 1966.
Hero (1992) - Excuse The Vulgarity Jungle Advised to visit with his son (James Madio) before his sentencing for fencing stolen goods, small-time crook Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) continues his confabulating when they find a promising wallet in a rest room, early in Hero, 1992, with Geena Davis and Andy Garcia.
Hero (1992) - Like The Suicide? Edward Hermann’s cameo introduces Geena Davis as reporter Gale and Kevin J. O’Connor as cameraman Chucky, then we meet Chevy Chase as news director Deke, Stephen Tobolowsky as exec Wallace, and Christian Clemenson as a rival newsman, in Hero, 1992, also starring Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia.
Hero (1992) - I Don't Give No Interviews No introduction for Andy Garcia as John Bubber, just a guy giving Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) a ride back into town after his car quit after the plane crash, where he acted the reluctant hero, but doesn’t want anybody to know, because he stole from the wreckage, in Hero, 1992, also starring Geena Davis.
Gambit (1967) - I Had To Have Her We don’t know at this point that we’re seeing the caper only as it plays out in the imagination of thief Harry (Michael Caine), in which Arab potentate Shabandar (Herbert Lom) is wholly entranced by the resemblance of Shirley MacLaine, as taxi-dancer Nicole, to his late wife, in Gambit, 1966.
Gambit (1966) - You Weren't Being Tricky Enough Thief Harry (Michael Caine), now in the dicier real-life version of his imagined heist, in fictional Dammuz with troublesome Nicole (Shirley MacLaine, whom he recruited because she’s a dead-ringer for a rich Arab’s deceased wife), trying to find find another accomplice, and forced to evade goons, in director Ronald Neame’s Gambit, 1966.
Julia (1977) - I Am Paris In a flashback, young Lillian Hellman and friend Julia (Susan Jones and Lisa Pelikan) grow up (into Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave) and Hellman's reverie resumes, in Fred Zinnemann's Julia, 1977.
Julia (1977) - Be A Coal Miner Gruff boyfriend Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards Jr.), impatient with troubled writer Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda) at the beach house, early in Fred Zinnemann's Julia, 1977.
Julia (1977) - A Perfect Time Of Life Jane Fonda playing the author of the underlying novel, Lillian Hellman's Pentimento, recalling the departure of the title character (Vanessa Redgrave) for Europe, in Fred Zinnemann's Julia, 1977.
Straight Time (1978) - The Conditions Of Your Parole Californian convict Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman, who also co-produced) on the evening of his release, in Los Angeles, then meeting his parole officer Earl Frank (M. Emmet Walsh), and being scolded, early in Straight Time, 1978, from a novel by San Quentin inmate Edward Bunker.
Straight Time (1978) - I Was A Convict Looking for work in LA after six years in prison for armed robbery, parolee Max Dembo (Dustin Hoffman) meets the attractive and approachable Jenny (Theresa Russell, in only her second credited role) at the employment agency, in Straight Time, 1978, directed by Ulu Grosbard.
Straight Time (1978) - You Wanna Rock'n'Roll? Direction by Ulu Grosbard, on the specified location in Los Angeles, co-producer Dustin Hoffman as newly paroled Max Dembo calls prison buddy Gary Busey (accompanied by his own son Jake), whom we discover is married to Kathy Bates, in her second movie role, in Straight Time, 1978.

Trailer

Companions

Laura Ziskind
Companion
Producer. Together since c. 1991.

Bibliography