Julius J. Epstein


Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Julius Epstein
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
August 22, 1909
Died
December 30, 2000

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-wr...

Family & Companions

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

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."

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 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.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Bacall On Bogart (1988)

Writer (Feature Film)

Reuben, Reuben (1983)
Screenwriter
House Calls (1978)
Screenwriter
House Calls (1978)
From Story
Cross Of Iron (1977)
Screenwriter
Pete 'n' Tillie (1972)
Written for Screen by
Any Wednesday (1966)
Screenwriter
Return From the Ashes (1965)
Screenwriter
Send Me No Flowers (1964)
Screenwriter
Light in the Piazza (1962)
Screenwriter
Fanny (1961)
Screenwriter
Tall Story (1960)
Screenwriter
Take a Giant Step (1960)
Screenwriter
The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
Adaptation
Kiss Them for Me (1957)
Screenwriter
The Tender Trap (1955)
Screenwriter
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
Screenwriter
Young at Heart (1954)
Screenwriter
Forever Female (1954)
Writer
Take Care of My Little Girl (1951)
Screenwriter
My Foolish Heart (1950)
Screenwriter
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
Screenwriter
One More Tomorrow (1946)
Additional Dialogue
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Screenwriter
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Screenwriter
This Is the Army (1943)
Contract Writer
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
Screenwriter
The Male Animal (1942)
Screenwriter
Casablanca (1942)
Screenwriter
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Contr to Screenplay
The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941)
Screenwriter
The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
Screenwriter
Honeymoon for Three (1941)
Additional Dialogue
No Time for Comedy (1940)
Screenwriter
Saturday's Children (1940)
Screenwriter
Four Wives (1939)
Screenwriter
Daughters Courageous (1939)
Screenwriter
The Sisters (1938)
Contr to Screenplay const
Secrets of an Actress (1938)
Original Screenplay
Fools for Scandal (1938)
Contract Writer
Four Daughters (1938)
Screenwriter
Confession (1937)
English Adapted
The King and the Chorus Girl (1937)
Contr to dial
The Perfect Specimen (1937)
Additional Dialogue
Sons O' Guns (1936)
Screenwriter
Little Big Shot (1935)
Screenwriter
Stars over Broadway (1935)
Screenwriter
I Live for Love (1935)
Screenwriter
The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935)
Contr to trmt
Broadway Gondolier (1935)
Contr to Screenplay const
In Caliente (1935)
Screenwriter
Living on Velvet (1935)
Story and Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

Reuben, Reuben (1983)
Co-Producer
Pete 'n' Tillie (1972)
Producer
Any Wednesday (1966)
Producer
Take a Giant Step (1960)
Producer
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Producer

Writer (TV Mini-Series)

Harold Robbins' The Pirate (1978)
Screenplay

Life Events

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

Returned to Broadway with "Chicken Every Sunday"

1944

First producing credit, Vincent Sherman's "Mr. Skeffington"; also wrote screenplay with brother

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"

Photo Collections

Casablanca - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Warner Bros' Casablanca (1942), directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains.

Videos

Movie Clip

Light In The Piazza (1962) - Two Butterflies Poolside in Florence, the mentally-challenged Amerian Clara (Yvette Mimieux) frolics with Italian George Hamilton (as "Fabrizio"), mother Margaret (Olivia de Havilland) and friend (Isabel Dean) overseeing, in Light In The Piazza, 1962.
Casablanca (1942) - In French Morocco The crackling and sometimes overlooked opening, Michael Curtiz directing, from the script by Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, featuring none of the famous players, narration by Lou Marcelle, from Casablanca, 1942.
Casablanca (1942) - Of All The Gin Joints... A most famous scene, American ex-pat saloon owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in wartime Morocco, with employee Sam (Dooley Wilson), brooding over Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) having turned up at his joint, a flashback montage revealing why, in Casablanca, 1942.
Casablanca (1942) - You Are A Subject Of The German Reich Czech resistance hero Lazlo (Paul Henreid) and consort Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) arrive at Rick's Cafe, surprising Sam (Dooley Wilson), meeting Norwegian Berger (John Qualen), French Renault (Claude Rains) and German Strasser (Conrad Veidt), early in Casablanca, 1942.
Casablanca (1942) - Letters Of Transit Introduction of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) at his Cafe` Americain, dismissing a smarmy German (Gregory Gaye), receiving sneaky Ugarte (Peter Lorre) introducing a key plot point, Dan Seymour the doorman, in Michael Curtiz's Casablanca, 1942.
Strawberry Blonde, The (1941) - We Have A Lady Present Biff (James Cagney) is ready to abandon buddy Hugo (Jack Carson) when he finds out the friend Virginia (Rita Hayworth) has brought to their clandestine date is a nurse, the headstrong Amy (Olivia de Havilland), early in Raoul Walsh's The Strawberry Blonde, 1941.
Saturday's Children (1940) - We Do A Large South American Trade Bobby (Anne Shirley) still on her first day at the shipping firm where her dad got her a job, as new pal Gertrude (Dennie Moore) finagles a second encounter for her with eligible colleague and would-be inventor “Rims” (John Garfield), early in Saturday’s Children, 1940, from a Maxwell Anderson play.
Saturday's Children (1940) - Garden Of Eden Apartments Though the Maxwell Anderson play isn’t set in New York, the Warner Bros. version begins there, Claude Rains and Elizabeth Risdon as the parents, Anne Shirley as daughter Bobby, and Roscoe Karns the live-in brother-in-law, Vincent Sherman directing, in Saturday’s Children, 1940, starring John Garfield.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - He Created Everything But Rhode Island Responsible cousin George (Richard Waring) is present for the first meeting between Bette Davis (as "Fanny") and stock broker Claude Rains (title character), dropping by to discuss her brother's embezzlements, early in Mr. Skeffington, 1944.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - Cordial Not Connubial On the ferry back from their wedding in New Jersey, Claude Rains (title character) and flighty Fanny (Bette Davis) compare their bliss to another couple, in Mr. Skeffington, 1944, directed by Vincent Sherman.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - Half Peppermint And Half Strawberry Preparing her for divorce, and knowing she'd prefer to live with him, Job (Claude Rains, title character) takes a crack at explaining anti-Semitism to daughter Fanny "Junior" (Marjorie Riordan) in Mr. Skeffington, 1944.
Mr. Skeffington (1944) - Some Committed Suicide New York, 1914, having left a gang of suitors in her drawing room, we learn that Walter Abel is cousin George to top-billed Bette Davis, in her first scene as socialite Fanny, her brother Trippy (Richard Waring) joining them, early in Mr. Skeffington,1944, with Claude Rains in the title role.

Trailer

Saturday's Children - (Original Trailer) A young inventor's new marriage is jeopardized by financial problems. Starring John Garfield.
Four Daughters - (Original Trailer) A small-town family's peaceful life is shattered when one daughter falls for a rebellious musician. Starring Claude Rains and John Garfield, directed by Michael Curtiz.
Fanny - (Original Trailer) Charles Boyer and Maurice Chevalier introduce you to Marseilles and the world of Fanny (1961).
Daughters Courageous - (Original Trailer) A father (Claude Rains) returns to the family he left years earlier and tries to solve their problems. Co-starring John Garfield.
Kiss Them For Me - (Original Trailer) Three navy war heroes are booked on a morale-building "vacation" in San Francisco and plan to throw a wild party in Kiss Them For Me (1957) starring Cary Grant and Jayne Mansfield. Directed by Stanley Donen.
Sisters, The - (Original Trailer) Errol Flynn and Bette Davis in love and it's all capped off with the San Francisco earthquake, as promoted by Warner Bros. in the original theatrical trailer for The Sisters, 1938, directed by Anatole Litvak.
Last Time I Saw Paris, The - (Original Trailer) A writer recalls his turbulent marriage to an expatriate heiress in The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954), starring Elizabeth Taylor.
Young At Heart - (Original Trailer) Frank Sinatra and Doris Day are among the very Young At Heart (1955) in this musical version of Four Daughters.
Romance on the High Seas -- (Original Trailer) Singer Doris Day gets mixed up in a series of romantic problems during a Caribbean cruise in Romance on the High Seas (1948) featuring "It's Magic" and other songs by Jule Styne & Sammy Cahn.
Send Me No Flowers - (Original Trailer) Rock Hudson and Doris Day in their last co-starring movie, Send Me No Flowers (1964).
Man Who Came to Dinner, The - (Original Trailer) An acerbic critic moves in with a Midwestern family during the holidays in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942).
Sons O' Guns - (Original Trailer) A song-and-dance man (Joe E. Brown) gets caught up in war and espionage in Sons O' Guns (1936) co-starring Joan Blondell.

Family

Henry Epstein
Father
Livery stable proprietor.
Sarah Epstein
Mother
Philip G Epstein
Brother
Screenwriter. Twin; collaborated on Oscar-winning script to "Casablanca", among many others; died on February 7, 1952.
Elizabeth Doris Epstein Schwartz
Daughter
Born in April 1939; mother, Frances Satz.
James Michael Epstein
Son
Attorney. Born in June 1940; mother, Frances Satz.
Philip Berthold Epstein
Son
Born in May 1953; died in January 2000; mother, Ann Margot Wassermann.
Leslie Epstein
Nephew
Novelist.
Richard Epstein
Nephew
Novelist.
Anya Epstein
Grandniece
Screenwriter, producer. Married to actor Dan Futterman.
Tim Schwartz
Grandson

Companions

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

Bibliography

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."