Stirling Silliphant


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Born
January 16, 1918
Died
April 26, 1996
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

This veteran screenwriter and producer has been responsible for some of the most enjoyable films and TV shows of the past four decades--as well as one or two of the most enjoyably awful. The Second World War interrupted Silliphant's career as a Disney publicist. After the war, Silliphant returned to work in the publicity department of 20th Century Fox, but turned to writing and producing...

Family & Companions

Tiana DuLong Thi Thanh Nga
Wife
Actor, filmmaker. Married July 4, 1974; Vietnamese; survived him.

Bibliography

"The Steel Tiger"
Stirling Silliphant
"Bronze Bell"
Stirling Silliphant
"Maracaibo"
Stirling Silliphant
"Pearl"
Stirling Silliphant

Biography

This veteran screenwriter and producer has been responsible for some of the most enjoyable films and TV shows of the past four decades--as well as one or two of the most enjoyably awful. The Second World War interrupted Silliphant's career as a Disney publicist. After the war, Silliphant returned to work in the publicity department of 20th Century Fox, but turned to writing and producing in the early 1950s. He started in TV by writing for such series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Perry Mason" and "Alcoa/Goodyear Theater" before creating (and writing) the highly-regarded noir detective series "Naked City" (ABC, 1958-59).

Silliphant worked steadily in TV through the 1990s, producing and writing the series "Route 66" (CBS, 1960-64) and "Longstreet" (ABC, 1971-72). He also produced many TV-movies and miniseries, including "The New Healers" (ABC, 1972), the horror tale "Salem's Lot" (CBS, 1979), the war drama "Fly Away Home" (ABC, 1981), "Mussolini: The Untold Story" (NBC, 1985), and the spy dramas "The Brotherhood of the Rose" (NBC, 1989) and "Day of Reckoning" (NBC, 1994).

In 1953, Silliphant made his big-screen debut producing and writing "The Joe Louis Story." He freelanced for large and small studios and after producing and writing a number of crime and action films, he had his first classic with the sci-fi thriller "Village of the Damned" (screenplay, 1960), the eerie story of alien children. Silliphant won a Best Screenplay Oscar for the tense racial drama, "In the Heat of the Night" (1967), and was lauded for his adaptations of "Charly" (1968), "Marlowe" (1969) "The New Centurions" (1972), and "The Killer Elite" (1975).

Some of his work was classic in another sense: Silliphant worked on such popular, high-camp films as "Shaft" (producer, 1971), as well as its sequels, and provided the screenplays for the disaster flicks, "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972), "The Towering Inferno" (1974) and "The Swarm" (1978) and the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling epic "Over the Top" (1987).

After a nine-year absence, Silliphant returned to features with his adaptation (co-written with Kirk Ellis) of Truman Capote's autobiographical novel "The Grass Harp" (1995). Directed by Charles Matthau and starring Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek, the film is a gentle comedy about a young boy sent to live with his eccentric aunts. He has also contributed to the screenplay for Irvin Kershner's remake of the sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet" (scheduled for release in 1996).

Filmography

 

Writer (Feature Film)

Village of the Damned (1995)
Story By
Village of the Damned (1995)
From Story
The Grass Harp (1995)
Screenplay
Day of Reckoning (1994)
From Story
Day of Reckoning (1994)
Screenplay
A Stranger in the Mirror (1993)
Screenplay
The Three Kings (1987)
From Story
Over The Top (1987)
Screenplay
The Three Kings (1987)
Screenplay
Feel the Heat (1987)
Screenwriter
Travis Mcgee: Empty Copper Sea (1983)
Screenplay
Golden Gate (1981)
Screenplay
Fly Away Home (1981)
Screenwriter
When Time Ran Out (1980)
Screenplay
Circle Of Iron (1979)
From Story
Circle Of Iron (1979)
Screenwriter
The Swarm (1978)
Screenplay
Telefon (1977)
Screenplay
The Enforcer (1976)
Screenplay
The Killer Elite (1975)
Screenwriter
Death Scream (1975)
Screenplay
The First 36 Hours of Dr. Durant (1975)
Screenwriter
The Towering Inferno (1974)
Screenplay
Shaft In Africa (1973)
Screenwriter
The New Centurions (1972)
Screenwriter
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Screenwriter
Murphy's War (1971)
Screenwriter
Longstreet (1971)
Screenwriter
The Liberation of L. B. Jones (1970)
Screenwriter
A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970)
Screenwriter
Marlowe (1969)
Screenwriter
Charly (1968)
Screenwriter
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Screenwriter
The Slender Thread (1965)
Screenwriter
Village of the Damned (1960)
Screenwriter
Damn Citizen (1958)
Writer
The Lineup (1958)
Writer
Nightfall (1957)
Screenwriter
Huk! (1956)
Screenwriter
5 Against the House (1955)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Grass Harp (1995)
Coproducer
Day of Reckoning (1994)
Executive Producer
Harry's Hong Kong (1987)
Producer
Feel the Heat (1987)
Executive Producer
The Three Kings (1987)
Producer
Fly Away Home (1981)
Producer
The First 36 Hours of Dr. Durant (1975)
Executive Producer
Shaft's Big Score! (1972)
Executive Producer
Shaft (1971)
Executive Producer
Longstreet (1971)
Executive Producer
A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970)
Producer
5 Against the House (1955)
Producer
The Joe Louis Story (1953)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Fly Away Home (1981)
Song

Production Companies (Feature Film)

A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970)
Company

Director (Special)

Movin' On (1972)
Creator

Writer (Special)

Welcome to Paradise (1984)
Writer
Hardcase (1981)
Writer
The New Healers (1972)
Writer
Movin' On (1972)
Writer
Brock Callahan (1959)
Writer

Producer (Special)

Welcome to Paradise (1984)
Executive Producer
Calling Dr. Storm (1977)
Executive Producer
The New Healers (1972)
Producer

Special Thanks (Special)

Welcome to Paradise (1984)
Writer
Hardcase (1981)
Writer
The New Healers (1972)
Writer
Movin' On (1972)
Writer
Brock Callahan (1959)
Writer

Misc. Crew (Special)

Hardcase (1981)
Other

Writer (TV Mini-Series)

James A. Michener's "Space" (1985)
Screenplay
Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985)
Screenwriter
Pearl (1978)
Screenplay

Producer (TV Mini-Series)

Brotherhood of the Rose (1989)
Executive Producer
Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985)
Producer
Salem's Lot (1979)
Executive Producer
Pearl (1978)
Executive Producer

Life Events

1940

Began film career as publicist for Walt Disney Studios (date approximate)

1942

Served in US Navy

1950

Became manager of East Coast publicity, 20th Century-Fox (date approximate)

1953

First film as screenwriter and producer, "The Joe Louis Story"

1954

Moved to Cuba for a year to write his first novel, "Maracaibo" (date approximate)

1958

Created first TV series, "Naked City" (also wrote)

1987

Wrote script for Sylvester Stallone starrer "Over the Top"

1996

Returned to screen after nine-year absence to write and produce feature "The Grass Harp"

1996

Final feature credit, contributed to the screenplay of the remake of "Forbidden Planet"

Videos

Movie Clip

Marlowe (1969) - Spanish For Pain Friendly clash between savvy detective James Garner (as the title character, Philip, in this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister) and Rita Moreno as polished Dolores, guarding her friend Mavis (Gayle Hunnicutt), implicated in a porn and murder scandal, in Marlowe, 1969.
Marlowe (1969) - All Shadow And No Substance James Garner is the title character of the movie, and Sharon Farrell the title character of the original Raymond Chandler novel The Little Sister, after he discovered another murder while looking for her brother, leading him to ring Dr. Lagardie (Paul Stevens), early in the updated Marlowe, 1969.
Marlowe (1969) - Open, Little Sister Groovy opening with an original song by Peter Matz and Noman Gimbel, taking it’s title from Raymond Chandler’s original novel The Little Sister, James Garner as the contemporary version of Chandler’s famous L-A detective, querying the manager (Warren Finnerty) of a hippie hotel, in Marlowe, 1969.
Marlowe (1969) - I Go To Ridiculous Extremes James Garner (title character Philip) gets himself hired by big-time agent Crowell (William Daniels) on the runway, then visits actress Mavis Wald (Gayle Hunnicutt) on the set, to discuss the photos of her with gangster Steelgrave, in the contemporary 1969 treatment of Raymond Chandler’s 1949 novel The LIttle Sister, Marlowe.
Poseidon Adventure, The (1972) - Six Hundred Pound Swordfish Priest Gene Hackman leads survivors toward the hull of the flipped ocean liner, Roddy McDowall the injured waiter, Shelley Winters and Jack Albertson the retirees, Pamela Sue Martin a frightened teen, Carol Lynley the lounge singer, Ernest Borgnine the surly cop, Stella Stevens his increasingly disrobed wife, in The Poseidon Adventure, 1972.
Marlowe (1969) - Winslow Wong Again banged-up James Garner (title character) is visited by Bruce Lee in his first appearance in an American film, as Winslow Wong, alarming the hairdresser next door (Christopher Cary), in the 1969 modern-day treatment of Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister, Marlowe.
Shaft (1971) - Sick Friend Here Confirming his suspicions, Richard Roundtree (title character) discovers that his Times Square-area office is being staked out (by Tommy Lane and Al Kirk) and fisticuffs ensue, early in director Gordon Parks Jr's hit Shaft, 1971.
Shaft (1971) - Open, Title Song The totally excellent opening by director Gordon Parks featuring the title character (Richard Roundtree, flashing his private-eye badge) cruising Times Square, nearing its sleazier days, to Isaac Hayes' Academy Award-winning title song, from Shaft, 1971.
Shaft (1971) - Soulsville Director Gordon Parks (with a cameo!) uses another Isaac Hayes song, Soulsville, with another montage of his leading man (Richard Roundtree) this time in Harlem, also visiting Bunky (Antonio Fargas), in Shaft, 1971.
In The Heat Of The Night (1967) - What Does That Make Him? Visiting Philadelphia detective Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) pressed into service, has just finished speaking with the murder victim's widow (Lee Grant), and is skeptical when Mississippi sheriff Gillespie (Rod Steiger) et al bring in suspect Harvey (Scott Clark), in In The Heat Of The Night, 1967.
In The Heat Of The Night (1967) - I'll Pay For The Call Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier), hauled in as a murder suspect, reveals his identity to Mississippi Sheriff Gillespie (Rod Steiger), who summons deputy Wood (Warren Oates), early in Norman Jewison's In The Heat Of The Night, 1967.
Marlowe (1969) - That's Impertinent! Dining with regular girlfriend Julie (Corinne Camacho), James Garner (title character, modern version of Raymond Chandler's Philip), is induced into a second visit with martial arts enforcer Wong (Bruce Lee), representing gangster Steelgrave (H.M. Wynant), whom he decisively outwits, in Marlowe, 1969.

Trailer

Family

Leigh Silliphant
Father
Ethel Silliphant
Mother
Survived him.
Stirling Silliphant Jr
Son
Mother Tiana DuLong; survived him.

Companions

Tiana DuLong Thi Thanh Nga
Wife
Actor, filmmaker. Married July 4, 1974; Vietnamese; survived him.

Bibliography

"The Steel Tiger"
Stirling Silliphant
"Bronze Bell"
Stirling Silliphant
"Maracaibo"
Stirling Silliphant
"Pearl"
Stirling Silliphant
"The Slender Thread"
Stirling Silliphant